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February 28, 2024

U.S. Ambassador urges Nigerians not to let differences bring division

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The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, says it will be important for the future of the country that Nigerians do not let their differences divide them.

According to her, legally established process for resolving challenges to the election should be allowed to take its course

In an Op-ED titled: “The Elections of February 25”, Leonard said that the people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on Feb. 25.

However, that there were many angry and frustrated Nigerians just as there were many celebrating victories they believed were hard-fought and well-earned.

“In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them.

“And that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.

“We commend Mr Obi and Mr Abubakar for their recent statements committing to take this path, and Mr Tinubu, who INEC declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so.

“The United States is no stranger to election-related controversy and conflict.

“ As much as it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude. ‘’

She said it  was clear that the electoral process as a whole on Feb. 25 failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations.

“As I said numerous times prior to the elections, Nigeria has accomplished much in just the two-plus decades since the return to democracy, and a gradual improvement in the quality of its elections in that time constitutes one of those accomplishments.

“We recognise that Nigerians want that positive trend to continue, including through the use of new technology intended to make the process of reporting results more transparent.

“We, thus, reiterate our call on INEC to address promptly the challenges that can be resolved ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections.

“And to undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them.

“In all cases, INEC should share with the Nigerian public information about the actions it is taking.’’

She highlighted some of the remarkable results from the  past election that showed how Nigeria’s political landscape was indisputably changing.

“In more than half of the states – 20 – the winning candidate represented a different party than that of the incumbent governor.

“ Twelve of these states are led by APC governors.  For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results.

“ In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot.

“Seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives.’’

She said that the Nigerian people had made clear their desire for responsive and inclusive governance, and that the U.S. strongly supported the ability to express that desire.

“The United States and Nigeria are the two largest presidential democracies in the world, and longtime partners.

“As Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you,’’ the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria said. (NAN) www.nannews.ng.

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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