The United States of America has said it is not supporting any political party or any candidate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in reaction to allegations by the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that it was providing tactic support to Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate.
The APC campaign council had in a statement issued by Festus Keyamo, its spokesperson, accused Stuart Symington, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, and that of other western countries of discrediting the electoral process with their comments on purported rigging and intimidation by the ruling party.
But in its reaction, the U.S. Embassy stated that as part of its commitment to advancing democracy worldwide, the North American country does not have any preferred candidate or political party in the upcoming elections.
The statement also asked Nigerians to be careful of fake news, especially in the period of the elections.
The statement read: “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 rumours are operating in overdrive. But it must be repeated: we are not taking sides.”
Noting that its country provides a substantial assistance of over $1 billion dollars, the U.S. Embassy said it would continue to be a “good partner” to Nigeria beyond the general elections.
The embassy stated that the election is not only of critical importance to Nigerians but to also the West African country’s partners across the world due to its leadership role in Africa.
“The United States is Nigeria’s long-term and enduring friend.
“We provide more than $1bn 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,” the statement read.
The U.S. Embassy also lauded the peace accord to be signed by political parties and its candidates, saying: “Peace benefits all Nigerians and peace is the responsibility of every citizen as you work together to ensure your elections are free, fair, transparent, and credible.”
The statement noted that the electoral process would be decided by only Nigerians, adding that the U.S. would continue to provide valuable support to the country’s democracy.
The embassy reiterated its call to security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission and all relevant stakeholders to remain neutral throughout the conduct of the elections.