13 May 2010

Nigeria: U.S. Backs Jonathan for 2011

Washington D.C. — The United States of America (USA) has offered to assist Nigeria hold a free and fair election, and also expressed support for President Goodluck Jonathan to run as a candidate next year.

The support, however, comes with a condition - that the President is "prepared to hold accurate, credible and transparent national voters' registration exercise".

The thinking within the administration is that a credible voters' registration exercise will remove one of the key arguments to his candidacy for next year's poll. "If voters are registered and allowed to cast their votes in a free and fair polls, it does not matter that the President is a candidate," a top State Department official said.

The administration is also pleased with the decisions taken by Jonathan since he assumed power, including how he handled the power vacuum created by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua and his choice of deputy.

In an apparent warning to Jonathan's presidency next year, Washington described the process through which he picked a deputy as "mature, consultative and unifying". The White House said President Jonathan's style of inclusive government was what the country needs to confront the enormous challenges facing her.

"President Barack Obama has reached out to President Jonathan to express his support for his efforts to build the country after the unfortunate death of President Yar'Adua," a top administration official said. The official raised the possibility of Obama visiting Nigeria next year if it carries out a "peaceful election that reflects the will of the Nigerian people".

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