The immediate former Minister of State for Labour and Employment and a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Festus Keyamo, has berated the European Union Election Observer Mission, over its final report on the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
The EU in its report, had claimed that some level irregularities played out during the general elections, and more, it alleged that Keyamo was one of those APC members who promoted and thrived with fake news, during the electioneering campaign.
“On 12 February, Festus Keyamo from APC promoted information published by a suspicious website, accusing Peter Obi of bribery. The story quickly become viral and was in a few hours debunked,” EU wrote in its report.
However, in his reaction to the EU claim on Wednesday, Keyamo who questioned the organization on the right it has to categorize local news as fake maintained that there was to observe the election and give a report, and not to poke noses in what goes on between a candidate and the other during the campaigns.
The former Lagos lawyer said the EU was biased in the report, noting that by not investigating before going ahead to write the report, noting that even the Journalists and investigative reporters, who are saddled with the responsibilities of investigation, will talk to both parties involved in a story, before making any conclusion.
According to him, the “EU report is nothing but a one-sided narrative,” noting that it only singled out the APC and President Bola Tinubu, leaving out the reports of local and international journalists, which had earlier reported that “all political parties” tried to outdo themselves, by pushing out some false stories.
“The part of the EU report that asserts that there was a single incident throughout the whole campaign where I retweeted a news item by a ‘suspicious website’ does not deserve my response because it is so presumptuous and outside their mandate and exposes a deep-seated bias about how the so-called observers went about their assignment. However, for the education of the gullible and unfortunate ones who are jubilating over such a poor report, I will say a word or two.
“Firstly, their assignment is to OBSERVE AND REPORT. Their mandate does not extend to INVESTIGATING claims made by candidates against one another and reaching CONCLUSIONS on such claims. They are not journalists nor are they law-enforcement officers. They are just OBSERVERS. Declaring any news as ‘fake’ when they don’t have alternative facts or findings by institutions statutorily empowered to investigate such claims is tantamount to taking sides on the campaign trail and trying to defend a candidate against another. And that is very disappointing and unfortunate on the part of these observers.
“Secondly, even professional journalists, law courts and law-enforcement agencies, in the course of investigating any allegation, MUST talk to all sides before concluding. Where is the evidence that the EU observers talked to those who made these claims and sought to get further clarifications before rushing to write their jejune report?
“Thirdly, they said I retweeted a story by a suspicious website’. Pray, what makes a website ‘suspicious’? They did not elaborate. How can foreigners come into a country and declare a local news website as ‘suspicious’ (without more) and just walk away? What arrogance!
“Fourthly and curiously, whilst other local and international journalists had previously reported that ALL THE POLITICAL PARTIES tried to outdo themselves by pushing out some false stories, the EU report just singled out the APC. So, were they blind to the antics of the other parties? For instance, was there a single mention of tons of false reports by the PDP and LP that our candidate @officialABAT (who is now President) was evacuated abroad for urgent medical attention at various moments during the campaign when there was no scintilla of evidence to back that up? Is that not ‘fake news’?
“Overall, the EU report is nothing but a reflection of a one-sided narrative. And I congratulate the Opposition on working closely with the EU and carting away the all-important prize of the EU Final Report.
“For us, we shall make do with the consolation prize of the ACTUAL WINNER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2023,” Keyamo wrote.