Angry Demonstrators Storm EU Office in Abuja, Urging Withdrawal of Report on 2023 Elections
In a forceful display of dissent, hundreds of Nigerian protesters gathered at the European Union office in Abuja on Thursday. Their primary grievance centered around what they perceived as deliberate attempts to destabilize Nigeria through the recently released report by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) on Nigeria’s 2023 general elections. The report characterized the polls as generally falling short of acceptable global standards, which drew the ire of the demonstrators.
The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and Political Parties for Good Governance led the protests, advocating for the EU to retract its report and allow Nigeria the opportunity to progress like any other nation. Dr. Lilian Ene Ogbole, the National Coordinator of the coalition, emphasized the need for western countries to refrain from interfering in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
Dr. Ogbole expressed strong dissatisfaction with the EU report, describing it as not only ludicrous but also a deliberate act of disrespect towards Nigeria, its leaders, and the government. She acknowledged that elections worldwide, including those in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, and EU member countries, encounter their own challenges and hitches. According to her, Nigeria is no exception, and the recently concluded election was one of the most transparent in the nation’s history. She questioned the basis of the EU’s assertion that the election was fraudulent and failed to meet the requirements of a credible election, suggesting that something questionable may be at play.
Furthermore, Dr. Ogbole contended that the EU report had the potential to ignite national turmoil, endangering security, sovereignty, and unity. Nigeria’s significance as a leading country in Africa, influencing the entire continent, underscored the gravity of the situation. The demonstrators demanded the withdrawal of the EU report and urged the EU to issue a revised report that would present a more favorable view of Nigeria.
The protesters raised concerns about the limited scope of the EU’s observation, highlighting that less than 50 individuals from the EU were deployed to assess the election in contrast to over 176,000 polling units. They perceived this as an inadequate basis for drawing sweeping conclusions about the election. The coalition insisted that any Nigerians collaborating with external forces to propagate negative narratives about the country should desist immediately. Nigeria aspires to measure up to EU countries and the United States and will not tolerate false or manipulated reports about its affairs. They characterized such actions as a form of neocolonialism that must be resisted.
Dr. Ogbole emphasized that Nigeria operates under its own constitution, which guides the nation’s affairs, and will not be swayed by speculation, fabrications, or rumors from the international community. The coalition expressed its support for the current president, highlighting that Nigerians exercised their right to vote for him in the last election without any external coercion.
An unidentified EU official present at the scene committed to relaying the grievances of the protesters to his superiors.