Tuesday, June 6, 2023

US faces losing Nigerian presidential candidates with disputed presidential election

Losing Nigerian presidential candidates Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have lambasted the United States (US) for communicating with President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu on diplomatic matters while their victory was contested in court.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed to reporters that he had a phone conversation with Tinubu on Monday to “emphasize his continued commitment to further strengthen US-Nigeria relations with the incoming administration.”

During the call, Blinken also said that the United States looked forward to working with the Tinubu government.

“The secretary said that the US-Nigeria partnership is based on shared interests and strong ties between peoples and that those ties should continue to strengthen under President-elect Tinubu.

A statement from US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, “Secretary Blinken and President-elect Tinubu discussed the importance of inclusive leadership representing all Nigerians, continuing comprehensive security cooperation and working together to support economic growth.” made improvements for.”

But for Obi, the United States was acting ahead of time.

“Nigeria has an evolving political and judicial process surrounding the latest presidential election,” he said in a statement.

We expect the United States to wait for the full resolution of ongoing legal proceedings before quietly granting legitimacy to any disputing party.

Tinubu’s All Progressives Congress (APC) victory in February is being reviewed by the Nigerian Court of Appeal, which forms the presidential election tribunal.

Atiku Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party and Obi’s Labor Party say the elections were marred by corrupt practices, voter suppression and failure to comply with the provisions of the country’s electoral law.

Obi received 25.4% of the electoral votes while Abubakar received 29.07% and Tinubu received 36.61%.

Rabiu Kwankwo of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) came fourth with 6.4%.

Abubakar said he was “incredulous” that Blinken called Tinubu and that the action was “contrary to the publicly stated position of the United States on the 2023 Nigerian presidential election.”

read | Six Nigerian states challenge the election in the Supreme Court

He said the US actions were a poor example of the democracy the US claims to be upholding.

“Legalizing the widely recognized fraudulent elections in Nigeria could be demoralizing to citizens who have staked their bid for democracy and the sanctity of the ballot,” he said.

Outgoing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will take delivery at a new store on May 29.

For now, he remains head of state. Obi believed that official lines of communication should be directed to Buhari.

He said that the United States was in violation because it was interfering in an internal Nigerian matter by choosing to communicate with Tinubu.

“Nigeria’s democracy is based on principles that are dear to the American people. The US-Nigeria relationship should be guided by the core values ​​of democracy, without the risk of interfering in Nigeria’s internal affairs.

“Above all, Nigerians expect that America’s response to our issues will be based on mutual respect, shared ideals, aspirations and interests that should transcend the views of any individual,” he said.

Anity Ewang, a researcher with the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, warned that the electoral controversy over Tinubu’s tenure in office could drag on well into the year.

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News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hans Seidl Foundation. Stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be included in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of the Hans Seidel Foundation.

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