U.S. refutes partisanship claim, UK deploys 100 observers.
· Why Clinton canceled his visit, by Atiku’s spokesman
The United States (U.S.) Consulate in Nigeria has debunked reports that it is supporting a particular candidate in the presidential elections.
Describing the report that the U.S. was supporting the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, as ‘fake news and rumors,’ the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington restated that it was not taking sides in the country’s election.
Symington was reacting to allegations by Spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo (SAN), that the US and other Western nations were partial and tactically supporting Atiku.
Keyamo had questioned the decision of the U.S. Government to issue a visa to Atiku in spite of his being accused of corruption.
But Symington in a statement yesterday noted that the U.S. was Nigeria’s long-term ally and would continue to be so after even the elections irrespective of who wins.
He added that the election was important for the country’s neighbors and the world at large, adding that Nigeria has long played a leadership role in the region and beyond, as a force for democratic stability.
Symington added that the election results of 2015 empowered Nigeria to play that role, which makes the U.S. to look forward to a similar result on Saturday.
“The United States is Nigeria’s long-term and enduring friend. We provide over $1 billion in assistance and help save more than two million Nigerians each year through our health and humanitarian assistance.
“This will not change. We are Nigeria’s good partner, and this will continue after the election – no matter who wins,” he stated.
Also, the United Kingdom (UK) has hinted that it would deploy no fewer than100 observers to 15 states for the forthcoming elections.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing, said this yesterday while discussing the UK’s efforts to support free, fair and credible polls in the country on Nigeria Info FM.
Laing said the UK respects Nigeria’s sovereignty and would help to strengthen its democracy.
“As an independent observer country, we respect Nigeria’s sovereignty; it is our job to stand with the people of Nigeria in this democratic journey,” she said.
Atiku’s spokesman, Paul Ibe, has blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the cancellation of former US President, Bill Clinton’s visit.
Clinton was expected to at the signing of a peace accord between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku at the behest of the National Peace Committee (NPC) ahead of the elections.
But Clinton had canceled the trip, saying he did not want his visit to be politicized, even as Ibe argued that the development was not unconnected with utterances of some APC members.