The United States government yesterday said it was not supporting any candidate or political party in the February 25 and March 11th elections in Nigeria.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Africa Affairs, Molly Phee, stated this yesterday, when she paid visit to the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.
She said the concern of the US as an advanced democracy was to encourage a successful election that would be free, fair and peaceful.
Phee stated: “Since 1999, Nigeria has been moving up in solidifying and consolidating its democratic trajectory. And now, under the leadership of the chairman and the support of his superb team, all Nigerians can have confidence in the integrity of the upcoming election.
“I do want to emphasise the importance of conducting a peaceful election and I do want to emphasise that every citizen, every stakeholder, every party involved in the election has a responsibility before the election, during the campaign period, during the election and after the election, to be peaceful. It’s very important. It’s a challenge we faced in my own country.”
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while responding reiterated that the commission was not apolitical and has no candidate it was backing
He reassured that the electoral body would uphold the choice made by Nigerians at the ballot.
Yakubu added: “Like the United States, the commission is not a political party. We have no candidates and will only focus on the process.
“The choice ultimately belongs to the people of Nigeria and the commission will uphold the choice made by Nigerians. We are committed to free, fair, credible, inclusive and verifiable elections in 2023.
“The United States, understandably, is interested in the Nigerian democracy and Nigeria is equally interested in the US democracy. I have said this in Washington for those who did not hear me. I want to repeat it again. If the United States is the largest presidential democracy in the world, which country is the second largest presidential democracy in the world? It’s actually Nigeria.
“Based on the projection of Nigeria’s population in the next two years, who knows we may also utterly overtake the United States… the largest presidential democracy in the world. So we’re interested in ensuring that we consolidate our democracy. There is no system of government better than a democratic system where the will of the people will continue to prevail,” Yakubu added
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