The Guardian
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‘Why the United States is interested in Nigeria’s election, democracy’


U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington

The United States has explained that its interest in Nigeria’s forthcoming elections is because of its effect on the survival of the country’s democracy.

The clarification followed the Federal Government’s vow not to allow external interference in the polls, after the U.S. United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) had expressed doubt about government’s sincerity in the process.

According to the US Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, the US is committed to supporting Nigeria’s democracy because what happens in the most populous African country will affect the rest of the world.

In a tweet yesterday on the verified account of U.S. Mission Nigeria, @USEmbassyAbuja, Stuart acknowledged that the future of the nation’s democracy is dependent on every Nigerian.

He said: “Why does the United States support Nigeria’s #democracy? Because what happens in Nigeria will affect the world… and it depends on you. It depends on every Nigerian.”

The Federal Government at the weekend in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, warned against external interference in its affairs, and its decision to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The countries had in separate statements threatened to punish anyone found guilty of either instigating violence, or plotting to rig the elections.

In the statements issued last Thursday by the Embassy of the United States and the British High Commission in Abuja, the two countries pledged their commitment to ensuring free and fair elections in the country.

They stressed that the 2019 elections “is important not only for Nigeria, but also for the African continent.

But the Federal Government warned that while it accepts the prevailing keen interest and partnerships for successful elections in and peaceful Nigeria, it rejects any interference or perception management that promotes apprehension.

It frowned against any such move that would create citizens’ distrust, or undermines the transparency and acceptability of the outcomes of the electoral process.

The Federal Government stressed the “readiness of the security forces to confront any plan or attempt to interfere with, or disrupt the process whether by elements within or from outside the country.”

The statement explained that Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and, or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs.

It cited international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the Federal Government has supported the electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish the desire and insistence on free and fair elections.

“Citizens are encouraged to confidently exercise their franchise in an orderly manner with the assurance of the Federal Government to their security during and after the electoral process,” the statement said.

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