Nigerians have set new standards for democracy, says United States
UNITED States Secretary of State, John Kerry yesterday commended Nigerians, adding that the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan and (retd) Major General Muhammadu Buhari have set new standards for democracy.
In a statement made available to The Guardian by the American Embassy in Abuja, Kerry commended both leaders for not only urging their supporters to shun violence but for also promoting peace especially with their conducts before and after the announcement of election results.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel yesterday urged Nigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to work at consolidating the nation’s democracy and improve its economy using the combined forces of all political camps in Nigeria.
Merkel in a telegraph to Buhari also invited the president-elect to Germany for further discussions, while pledging the support of Europe’s second largest economy to the new government of the retired General.
According to Kerry, the largely peaceful election was historic as all voters showed patience and demonstrated their commitment to participate in the democratic process.
Yesterday too, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond sent congratulatory messages to General Buhari.
Kerry added, “The United States commends Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Attahiru Jega, on the generally orderly vote, on the use of technology such as card readers to increase the credibility and transparency of the electoral process and on prompt communication of the results. While we note reports of logistical problems, such incidents did not undermine the overall outcome of the election.”
“We laud both President Jonathan and General Buhari for their public commitments to the Abuja Accord signed in January and reaffirmed March 26, respecting the official results and encouraging their supporters to do the same. We commend President Jonathan for his years of service and for having acted in the best interest of his country,” the statement read.
The US welcomed President Jonathan’s call for unity and calm during the transition period. Congratulating General Buhari for emerging the President-elect, Kerry reiterated the commitment of the US government to work with the newly elected government that would be sworn in on May 29.
Merkel continued: “With this election, the Nigerian people have sent a clear signal for the further democratisation of their country. Ahead of you lies responsibility for further consolidating democratic change with the combined forces of all political camps and for fostering Nigeria’s economic development. Allow me to encourage you to pursue this path.”
“I am confident that we will continue to intensify the close and amicable cooperation between our two countries. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit Germany”, Merkel said.
Meanwhile, a statement from Germany’s foreign minister, Steinmeier said that through the polls, Nigerians have sent a signal that could have an impact on the region and on Africa as a whole.
“For the first time in Nigeria’s history, the electorate has voted against the incumbent president and brought about a change of government democratically,” the German minister said in a statement sent through the German embassy in Abuja.
Commonwealth Secretary-General said that history had been made with Mr. Buhari becoming the first Nigerian opposition leader to be elected through the ballot box.
Commonwealth Communication Officer, Will Henley quoted Mr. Sharma as expressing admiration for the statesmanship and democratic spirit with which President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated President-elect Muhammadu Buhari on his victory, even before this morning’s official announcement of the result.
Sharma acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Independent National Electoral Commission, under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega, in delivering a credible election.
The Secretary-General thanked Dr. Bakili Muluzi, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Nigeria’s elections, adding that the Commonwealth remains ready to support Nigeria in the post-election era.
A statement by the Head of Communications | British High Commission, Abuja, reported Phillip Hammond as saying, “I congratulate Muhammadu Buhari on his election victory as the next President of Nigeria and also President Goodluck Jonathan for the statesmanship he has shown in delivering free and fair elections and accepting the result.
“It is now important for both parties to ensure the transition to a new government remains peaceful. Britain has a very deep relationship with Nigeria and we look forward to working with the new president, his government and the people of Nigeria in their aspirations for prosperity.”