Heavy security as pro-Tinubu protesters storm EU Secretariat

Protesters under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisation and Political Parties for Good Governance on Thursday stormed the national secretariat of the European Union in Abuja to demonstrate against its report on the 2023 presidential election.

The demonstrators, numbering over a hundred, marched from National Hospital to the EU office displaying several banners that read, ‘Nigerians reject EU election observer report’, ‘Don’t trigger violence in Nigeria’ and ‘We say No to manipulated report.’

While chanting the popular ‘On your mandate’ campaign anthem of President Bola Tinubu, the group demanded to see the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Samuela Isopi and Deputy Head of the EU to Nigeria, Alexandre Borges-Gomes.

The presence of the protesters consequently attracted a heavy retinue of armed security operatives who barricaded the perimeter.

The demonstration is coming in the wake of the final report by the European Union Election Observation Mission on Nigeria’s February 25 presidential poll.

In the preliminary findings presented by its Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, the EU-EOM held that though the elections were held on schedule, it lacked transparency as noticeable irregularities and operational failures also reduced trust in the electoral process.

Coordinator of the coalition, Dr Ene Ogbole, however, faulted the report, saying it was a deliberate attempt to create chaos in the country.

Addressing reporters at the entrance of the EU secretariat, the former coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council noted that every election across the globe comes with peculiar problems.

She said, “Every election held across the world including the United States of America, Great Britain and even the European Union countries have their peculiarities. The election that produced President Bola Tinubu was one of the most transparent in the history of Nigeria.

“We were therefore taken aback when the media was awash with the EU report carefully and specifically saying the election was fraudulent and fell short of requirements. I don’t know where that one is coming from. If it is the election we were all part of and fought vigorously with our lives for as patriots, something is fishy somewhere.”

Ogbole also queried why the union resorted to taking its report to the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to make its point.
According to her, no serious government or institution would draw a conclusion from the account of a presidential election conducted in less than 1,000 polling units to reflect what went down in over 176,000 units spread across the country.

“The EU should know where to stop. Why on earth should they take the report of this election to the tribunal? They have procedures in their counties. But when they come to Nigeria, they act out of protocol. They must begin to have protocols and respect our rule of law.”

“You will agree with me that the report of the European Union is enough to trigger a national problem, chaos and put Nigeria’s security and sovereignty at stake. We understand the role they played. But again, there comes a time when we have to stop,” she stated.

Another high-ranking member of the coalition, Danjuma Mohammed, believed the EU election report was ‘orchestrated by detractors of Nigeria’s democracy’ and called on Nigerians to reject it.

While stating that it was not out of place for election observers to report on what they see, the APC stalwart stated the conclusion of the EU team was biased.

“The European Union’s conclusion about a fraudulent election is unwarranted and we believe it was orchestrated by the detractors of Nigeria’s democracy. We urge the media and well-meaning Nigerians to defend Nigeria’s democracy. That report is a threat to our democracy and it should be rejected outright.

“It is natural that there will be disputes and disagreement during elections. But the distraction that is being caused by the European Union’s negative contribution is unwarranted, unnecessary and we reject it in totality; particularly now that we are grappling with fundamental issues of insecurity,” he said.

Efforts made to speak with the EU ambassador to Nigeria and the union’s deputy head proved abortive.

As of the time of filing the story, the protocol officers at the entrance insisted they were in a meeting.

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Author: Maxwell Dudu

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