The United States Consulate in Nigeria in its response to allegations made by Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, said that the claim that Ex-President Barack Obama meddled in the 2015 Presidential election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari was misrepresented facts.
Jonathan had in his book stated that Obama’s video which was released on 23 March, 2015, few weeks before the election influenced the process.
“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing avideo message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote.
“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes.
“Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” Ex-President Jonathan stated in his book.
The US Consulate in Lagos however described the claim by Jonathan in the book as a mischaracterization.
“It was mischaracterised in the book about what President Obama or his administration did in Nigeria. The mischaracterisation here refers to not comprehending why we felt it was important for Nigeria to have a peaceful, free and fair election in 2015,” Mr. Russell Brooks, the Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate in Lagos said (as seen on Punch).
“And thereby people may not understand why we placed so much importance of having a peaceful, free and fair and transparent election in 2019.
“In the past Nigeria’s elections had been beset by violence, there have been questions about the fairness of those elections. And we certainly believe that Nigeria can do better. In 2015, Nigeria did do better.
“There may have been some difficulties as they often times occur in elections whether here in Nigeria or in the United States. But Nigeria did do better and we believe Nigeria will continue to make progress.”
Regarding whether the US would be supporting any presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Mr. Brooks noted that the US would always remain neutral, saying that the US only supports credible and fair process.
“We are not favouring or supporting any candidate. It is up to the Nigerian people to decide. Our candidate is the process. The process should be free and fair, it should be a non-violent process. I am not talking of any plus or minus of any candidate, we are not favouring any candidate. We are not trying to influence the success of any candidate. That is not our role,” he noted.
He further stated that the US would support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring a credible process.
“We are helping Nigeria to make that progress through our support to INEC, to civil society here in Nigeria; through our assistance to the press and enabling them to also play a positive role in the coverage of the elections.
“All these show how important we believe it is for Nigeria to have an election process that can be credible and stand against any election anywhere in the world. We believe Nigeria can accomplish that.”