New Telegraph

We remain neutral in Nigeria’s General Election, U.S. reiterates

As the general elections draws closer, the United States of America has again reaffirmed its position to remain neutral towards the exercise, charging Nigeria electorate to cast their ballots according to their consciences in order to make Nigeria a proud leader and beacon for democracy.

The US Ambassador in Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the US does not support any particular candidate but remains interested in a fair democratic process that reflects the will of the Nigerian people. Leonard said that participation in elections is a, “key freedom” that many people in some countries around the world do not have, adding that Nigerians should endeavour to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming polls no matter the political party they support. “Elections are a celebration of freedom and choice.

The Nigerian people are fortunate to live in a country where they hold the power to determine the country’s next leader, but with that comes the responsibility to be involved, informed, and make their votes count. The U.S. Embassy urges all registered Nigerians to vote in the elections of February and March. “Since 1999, Nigeria has demonstrated a strong commitment to peaceful, credible, inclusive, and transparent elections,” she said.

The US envoy hailed the critical electoral reforms which Nigeria had undertaken in the last three years and expressed hope that these changes would reinforce the elections and make their outcomes true reflections of the will of the citizens. ‘‘Last year President Buhari and key stakeholders signed the Electoral Act of 2022, strengthening Nigeria’s electoral system and cementing Nigeria as a democratic leader in a region that has been experiencing backsliding. The U.S. government applauds that Act, which formally granted INEC the ability to use “BVAS” – the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System – to accredit voters and transmit election results electronically.

This type of system is a proven method to significantly reduce the potential for electoral fraud. “We also welcomed the law’s provisions that facilitate voting by persons with disabilities, which are an important step towards ensuring accessibility for all voters. These developments are just some of the reasons the United States has confidence in Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ability to organize and conduct credible and transparent elections. “The U.S. also welcomes the work of the National Peace Committee (NPC), a vital player in helping to ensure that the electoral process is carried out in an environment of calm and respect for the rights of others.’

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