The American Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has debunked claims by the Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign Council, that his country is subtly supporting the opposition, as the 2019 general elections approach.
Newsmen could recall, that the Director, Strategic Communications of the Council, Festus Keyamo, on Monday, lampooned Symington and other Western Diplomats, saying that, their recent statements on the elections, showed they are tactically supporting the opposition, seeking to remove President Muhammadu Buhari from power, on Saturday.
Keyamo specifically accused Symington of interfering in the 2019 Electoral process.
In reaction however, the US Embassy via its website, on Tuesday night, said that the US government is not taking sides in Nigeria’s Electoral process.
The statement further disclosed that the US government supports the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It urged Nigerian citizens to be wary of fake news and rumours, that are “operating in overdrive”. It said that the 2019 general elections “is as important to foreign Diplomats, as much as it is important to Nigerians.”
The US government, also called on every Nigerian, and the Security Forces, to peacefully support the democratic process, “in accordance with the Nigerian law”.
“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 rumors, are operating in overdrive. But it must be repeated: we are not taking sides.”
It recalled its support to the Nigerian government in the past.
“The United States is Nigeria’s long-term and enduring friend. We provide more than $1 billion in assistance, and help save more than two 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.”
It also added that, the United States welcomes the signing of the Peace Accord by the Candidates for the 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”, it said.