Nigerians’ Expectations For The Presidential Elections Were Not Met – US Ambassador
According to Mary Beth Leonard, the US ambassador to Nigeria, the February 25 presidential elections fell short of Nigerians’ expectations.
She admitted that a lot of Nigerians are upset and unhappy about the way the elections were conducted and their results.
The Independent National Electoral Commission was urged by Leonard in an opinion piece titled “The Elections of February 25” to address issues that can be resolved before the March 11 gubernatorial elections and to conduct a more thorough investigation into the issues that arose during the previous elections and what can be done to address them.
The text of the statement is as follows: “On February 25, Nigerians showed their commitment to democracy, yet there are many who are upset and disillusioned as well as many who are celebrating gains they believe were gained after a long and arduous battle. It would be crucial for the future of this nation that Nigerians do not let their disagreements keep them apart in the coming days and that the legally mandated process for addressing election-related concerns be allowed to proceed. We applaud Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent declarations that they would follow this course, as well as Mr. Tinubu, who INEC announced to be the winner of the Nigerian presidential election.
Election-related controversy and strife are nothing new in the US. Even if it can be disappointing, election conflicts may properly come to a courtroom resolution in a constitutional democracy governed by the rule of law.
The February 25 electoral process as a whole fell short of Nigerians’ expectations. As I repeatedly stated previous to the elections, Nigeria has made significant progress in the more than two decades since the country’s restoration to democracy, and one of those advancements is the steadily rising standard of its elections. We understand that Nigerians want this encouraging trend to continue, including by implementing new technologies designed to increase the transparency of the results reporting process. We, therefore, reaffirm our appeal for INEC to address the issues that may be remedied quickly in advance of the March 11 gubernatorial elections and to conduct a more thorough investigation into the issues that arose during the previous elections and what can be done to rectify them. In all circumstances, INEC should inform the Nigerian people of the activities it is doing.
I also want to draw attention to some of the outstanding election outcomes that unmistakably demonstrate how Nigeria’s political climate is altering. 20 out of the 50 states had the winning candidate come from a party other than one of the governors who was already in office. Governors from the APC are in charge of 12 of these states. For the first time, all four presidential contenders won at least one state, and according to these preliminary figures, the top three each won 12 states. Even though the results of the National Assembly elections are still pending, we already know that changes are afoot: The Labor Party has at least seven seats in the Senate, the NNPP has at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives, and seven incumbent governors failed in their bids to win election to the Assembly.
We firmly believe that the Nigerian people have the right to voice their demand for responsive and inclusive governance. The two biggest presidential democracies in the world—the United States and Nigeria—are also longtime allies. We support you as Nigeria navigates these upcoming weeks and months.