The judges of the presidential election tribunal have criticised the European Union’s report on the February 25 general election, saying the bloc lacked the authority to speak on Nigeria’s election-related issues while remaining silent on the U.S. 2020 presidential election.
The five-judge panel headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani, which upheld President Bola Tinubu’s victory on Wednesday, accused the EU of maintaining a deafening silence on the outcome of the U.S. election despite a comment by Lionel Brett, J.S.C, also a European.
Former President Donald Trump criticised the U.S. election that saw President Joe Biden win as being rigged and filled with fraud.
The EU Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) had, in its final report, said the presidential polls exposed enduring systemic weaknesses and signalled a need for further legal and operational reforms to enhance transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability.
While the presidency had rejected the report and described it as “a product of a poorly done desk job,” the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar, through his lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN), tendered the EU report while cross-examining an INEC witness, Lawrence Bayode. The tribunal admitted in evidence the report on July 4.
But the judges mocked the petitioners who brought the EU-EOM report to court. They declared that the report had no bearing on the validity of the poll results and was, therefore, inadmissible as evidence.
The judges also criticised the petitioners for acting irrationally, claiming that the report’s details were the “gospel truth” about what happened during the presidential elections in February.
They further indicated that the report would remain a total non sequitur regardless of whether its authors had appeared in court to defend their findings.
The judges said, “The impression given by both sets of petitioners is that the said report, which in any case has even been ruled inadmissible by us in Petition No: CA/PEPC/03/2023, is like gospel truth of what transpired in the election and so it must be accepted by this court and the conduct of the presidential election declared corrupt or at the very least below par, regardless of whether or not its authors presented themselves in court to defend their opinions. That stance, I am afraid, is a complete non sequitur.”