Stuart Symington, the United States of America’s ambassador to Nigeria has released a statement denying claims made by the President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Campaign Council that his country subtly wanted President Buhari to lose in Nigeria’s presidential elections which hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Recall that Festus Keyamo, the Director, Strategic Communications of the Campaign Council released a statement blasting the American ambassador and other Western diplomats over recent statements credited to them which he claimed showed that they were technically in support of the opposition parties who are looking to vote out President Buhari from power during the elections on Saturday. He also specifically accused Symington of interfering in the 2019 electoral process.
The USA Embassy has now reacted to the statement through its website on Tuesday night and said the US government is not supporting any candidate over another in Nigeria’s elections but it is instead supporting the work of the country’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The US government went on to urge citizens of the West African nation to be careful of fake news and rumors which abound on social media and said Nigeria’s general elections is just as important to foreign diplomats as it is to Nigerians. They then called on Nigerians and security agents to show their support for the democratic process peacefully.
Part of the statement read:
“The United States Embassy in Nigeria wishes to reiterate unequivocally, that we are not taking sides in Nigeria’s election. We do not support any party or Candidate. We support a level playing field and the democratic process. That is the bedrock principle of our government’s advocacy on democratic elections. In the final run-up to the Feb. 16 vote, fake news, and rumors, are operating in overdrive. But it must be repeated: we are not taking sides.”
“The United States is Nigeria’s long-term and enduring friend. We provide more than $1 billion in assistance, and help save more than two million lives of Nigerians each year, through our health and humanitarian assistance. This will not change. We are Nigeria’s good partner, and this will continue after this democratic election – no matter who wins. This election is Nigeria’s, but it is also important for Nigeria’s neighbours and for the world. Nigeria has long played a great leadership role in the region and beyond, as a force for democratic stability.
“The credible Electoral results of 2015, empowered Nigeria to play that role. The United States looks forward to a similar result this week. Now is the time to grow that peace, by ensuring all get the message, and put it into action, so that both the voting and the aftermath are peaceful and fully respect the democratic process.”
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