Mary Beth Leonard, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, has said that the presidential polls of February 25 failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
The ambassador noted that many people are upset and unhappy about the outcomes, while others are cheering triumphs they feel were achieved after a lot of effort.
She did praise Nigerians for displaying their commitment to democracy, though.
In light of this, Leonard urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to take immediate action to address issues that can be resolved prior to the March 11 gubernatorial elections and to conduct a more thorough investigation into the issues that arose during the previous elections and what can be done to address them.
She also encouraged INEC to notify the Nigerian public about the activities it is doing.
This was stated by her in the op-ed “The Elections of February 25.”
She applauded Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, for recognizing Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar’s right to contest the presidential election in a legitimate manner as well as their commitment to doing so.
The statement partly reads, “The people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on February 25, but there are many angry and frustrated Nigerians as well as many who are celebrating victories they believe were hard-fought and well-earned.
“In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.”
Leonard also acknowledged that, despite the fact that it can be disappointing, electoral disputes may properly be resolved in court in a constitutional democracy that is subject to the rule of law.
She stated that it is “indisputably” changing how elections are conducted in Nigeria.
She also stated that “more than half of the states – 20 – the victorious candidate represented a different party than that of the current governor” in reference to the outcomes of the presidential and National Assembly elections. Governors from the APC are in charge of 12 of these states.
“For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results.
“In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot: seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives.”
She however assured that as “Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you.”
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