Mr. Stuart Symington, the American Ambassador to Nigeria, has denied claims by the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation that the USA was supporting former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the forthcoming election.
Festus Keyamo, the spokesman of the Buhari Campaign group, had in a statement on Monday accused the US Ambassador and other western diplomats of supporting the opposition party to kick Buhari out of power.
“The impression he (Mr Symington) creates by constantly harping on suspected government interference with the electoral process is that President Buhari cannot win without tipping the results. He seems to be saying that only a PDP victory will be evidence of a fair election.
“Instead of encouraging free and fair elections, these judgmental statements and threats only cast an unnecessary pall over the elections and the nation,” Keyamo said in his statement released on Monday.
The US Embassy however denied the allegation, saying that the US government is not taking sides and will not get involved in Nigeria’s electoral process.
According to the embassy, the US government only supports the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It further urged Nigerians to be wary of fake news, adding that the forthcoming elections is as important to foreign diplomats as much as it is important to Nigerians.
Read the statement below;
“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 neighbors 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,” it said.