The United States Consul General, Mr. Will Stevens on Friday said his country has no preferred political party or Presidential candidate for 2023 general elections.
Mr. Stevens said what US was interested in is free, fair and credible elections to represent the people of Nigeria.
US Consul General stated this at the signing of governorship candidates’OpenGov manifesto in Asaba, Delta State capital.
Accoding to him, “as everyone knows, democracy is a long and evolving process, we have been working with Nigerian Government as partners to support INEC and civil societies in forums like today’s forum to allow people hold candidates accountable, hear them engage on the issues. People are strengthening it, people are feeling that they can participate.”
“We have also provided nearly $50 million worth of technical assistance to INEC and others to strengthen mechanisms to allow Nigerians feel comfortable such that when they vote, their votes will be counted.
“My visit to Delta and across the South-East as well, was to do pre-election monitoring, to look and see how things are developing.”
We in the US do not have a preferred candidate. We are not interested in particular political parties or candidates, what we are interested in is free, fair and credible elections to represent the people of Nigeria.
“These elections are so important, Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world. So when the people of Nigeria come to vote, you are showing the strength of democracy to the rest of the world. We are really excited about the upcoming elections, we are doing everything we can to make sure we understand what is happening and articulate to the people of US and the rest of the world.”
However, he said, “we are really pleased with things like electoral reform act, we should put in place good measures to strengthen voting security. We in the US, would discourage any of the politicians, citizens or other parties who encourage violence or seeking to undermine the democratic process”
“One thing we have done in the past and will continue to do, is we see it, is that those who seek to undermine the democratic process can and will be found ineligible for visa to the US.
“It is something, a tool we have in place and do around the world, and have done here in Nigeria and will do it again of we see people seeking to undermine the electoral process or encourage violence.”
In his remarks, the Director General of Policy Alert, Mr. Jijah Bolton Akpan said the Delta State OpenGov Town Hall will has given the citizens first hand opportunity to ask questions and demand explicit commitment from their governorship candidates.
Mr. Akpan however, urged politicians to keep to their campaign promises made to the electorates/ Nigerians at all level of governance.