By Obiora Ifo
The Labour Party’s attention has been drawn to Friday’s protests by some All Progressives Congress, (APC) hirelings at the premises of the European Union Mission in Abuja and views such protestation as a huge national embarrassment as it shows how antithetical the party is to truth and measures that will grow and strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
The protesters were demanding that the EU should withdraw its final report on Nigeria’s 2023, general elections held on 25 February and 18 March 2023, because as they claimed, the report was capable of setting the country on fire.
Labour Party finds it counter-intuitive, awkward and very difficult to comprehend that if after the electoral brigandage of the APC in cahoot with the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), on February 25, Nigeria did not go on fire because of the non-violence disposition of our standard bearer, Peter Obi, it is now that APC thinks the stark truth coming from an unbiased independent body like the EU will set Nigeria on fire.
What the Labour Party expected the APC to do is to lavishly appreciate the European Union for their continued yeoman contributions to the growth of democracy in our country through needs assessment missions and consequent financial, technical, and logistical support, which the 94-page report further underscores.
What the APC government should have done even standing in their epileptic position is to borrow a leaf from late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who in 2007, after winning the Presidential election perceived by international observers as not sufficiently credible, accepted to make amends by promising to reform the electoral system.
It was the reform of the electoral system started by Yar’Adua and continued by his successor President Goodluck Jonathan after his death that facilitated the victory of an opposition APC defeating an incumbent Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2015.
It’s the height of ingratitude and lack of sense of history for the same APC to be protesting against the same EU that had never failed to issue its observation reports after every election since 1999 and shouldn’t have looked away at the worst and most egregiously conducted elections in the history of Nigeria.
What the Labour Party expects the ruling party to do if they can is to discredit the report point by point but where they can’t, they should accept the fact that they are in possession of a stolen mandate, a reality known to all and sundry.
It’s not difficult to understand why such an unbiased forthright report is so discomforting to the ruling party to the extent of hiring protesters because no thief likes to see or hear from anybody coming with evidence that will expose him.
What Nigeria and indeed lovers of democracy globally should do, is to appreciate the EU for its persistent role in growing democratic principles in our land and refusing to be frustrated despite the anti-democratic attitude of our politicians and leaders. Finally, APC should understand fully, that seeking to represent Nigeria with a stolen electoral mandate at various African and international fora, where representatives of smaller countries that were able to conduct credible elections with broadly accepted outcomes are present, will always remain an albatross for our country. As much as the APC may excoriate the EU, its unvarnished report is universally available and cannot be redacted or suppressed.
- Obiora Ifo is National Publicity Secretary of LP