Ahead of Saturday’s presidential election, the United States has declared that it’s not supporting any candidate participating in the poll.
A statement signed the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington on Tuesday, said the US was not backing any candidate because his country supports a level-playing field during the elections.
According to the statement: “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 rumours are operating in overdrive. But it must be repeated: we are not taking sides.
“This is Nigeria’s election and the citizens of Nigeria will decide who will lead their nation. It is important for the future of every Nigerian and it is important that every Nigerian contribute to making it a democratic, peaceful, free and fair process.
“This will ensure that all Nigerians see the results as credible, and they accept them. This will empower Nigeria’s democracy going forward, as did the elections of 2015.”
The US envoy also declared that his country’s aids to Nigeria will remain, irrespective of who wins the election, pointing out that the US has an enduring friendship with Nigeria.
He said: “The United States is Nigeria’s long-term and enduring friend. We provide more than $1 billion in assistance and help save more than 2 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.
“We support the democratic process and the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission in managing the elections. We call on every Nigerian citizen, official, party member, and the security forces to peacefully support Nigeria’s democratic process in accordance with Nigerian law.
“The United States welcomed the signing of Peace Accords by the candidates for President and other offices. 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.
“Peace benefits all Nigerians and peace is the responsibility of every citizen as you work together to ensure your elections are free, fair, transparent, and credible.”
This is coming at a time the spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign organisation, Festus Keyamo accused the United States of showing double standards by supporting the candidature of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Keyamo had said the US Ambassador “seems to be saying that only a PDP victory will be evidence of a fair election”.