Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Samuela Isopi, has said it was up to Nigeria to decide what to do with the report of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria for the 2023 general election.
He stated this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the award of postgraduate scholarships to 135 Nigerians.
The statement by the EU envoy is coming after the recent harsh reaction of the presidency to the report presented by the EU EOM.The presidency had rejected the report, saying it was a product of a poorly-done desk job that relied heavily on few persons.
While saying that the report was a jaundiced report, the presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, also said the it was to merely sustain the same premature denunciatory stance contained in EU’s preliminary report.
Isopi, however, said the rejection by the presidency would not affect the EU’s relations with Nigeria in anyway, saying the EU and Nigeria have very strong relations. She stated that there were engagements between EU institutions, EU leaders and the administration of President Bola Tinubu, while also recalling a telephone call after his inauguration with the President of the European Union Council.
Isopi added that the EU would continue to collaborate and cooperate with Nigeria in so many areas, even as she said that both the EU and Nigeria will strengthen new areas.
She recalled that since 1999, the EU has been deploying election observer missions to Nigeria on the invitation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Isopi said: “It is the responsibility of host country, it is the responsibility of the partner country, to is the responsibility the electoral management body to decide if they want to make use or not of that report.
“Our experience with Nigeria so far has been positive and I mean and I can say that the report of the international observation missions, including the European Union, has helped a lot and has helped guide the action and the reform processes and I have no doubt that this will be the case also this time.”
Meanwhile, the EU has announced the offer of postgraduate scholarships to 135 young Nigerians in top European universities, under its flagship educational programme, Erasmus+.
Isopi said the figure places Nigeria on the number one spot among beneficiaries of the EU postgraduate scholarships in Africa in the past five years, and among the top five globally.
She stated that in recent years, the EU has been ramping up support to the academia through the EU’s key funding programmes: Erasmus+ in the higher education sector, and Horizon Europe for research and innovation.
While saying that Erasmus+ offers many opportunities apart from its flagship scholarship programmes, Isopi added that it supports mobility and short stays in Europe for researchers, students and staff, capacity-building of universities and TVET institutions through joint projects with sister European institutions, etc