8 November 2012

Nigeria: Jonathan, World Leaders Congratulate Obama

Photo: Scout Tufankjian/Obama for America
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at the second presidential debate.

United States President Barack Obama Wednesday received a ringing endorsement from world leaders on his re-election, who urged him to work harder in improving relations between his country and others.

Obama trounced his Republican challenger, Mr. Mitt Romney, with 303 Electoral College votes to Romney's 206, to get the nod to remain in the White House for another four years, in a presidential race, which gulped $6 billion, and was adjudged the most expensive in American history.

Among those who have felicitated with Obama on his victory were President Goodluck Jonathan, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chinese leader Hu Jintao, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Australia's leader Julia Gillard, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also urged Nigeria's opposition politicians to emulate Romney who conceded defeat and called Obama to congratulate him.

Jonathan, congratulating Obama on behalf of the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, said in a statement by the presidential spokesman, Dr. Rueben Abati, that his victory was a reflection of his acceptability among Americans.

According to the statement, Obama's victory "is an endorsement by the good people of the United States of his leadership, progressive world view, and the very good work he has done in the past four years towards ending global economic depression and fostering global peace and security.

"Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union enjoyed very cordial and productive relations with the Obama administration in his first term; President Jonathan looks forward to continuing to build on Nigeria and Africa's developmental collaboration with the United States in the next four years."

Jonathan also looks forward to further strengthening bilateral relations with the US and the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission, which was established during Obama's first term as the primary platform for the promotion of greater trade and economic cooperation between both countries as well as bilateral collaboration in other areas.

The president also hoped that "the millions of people across the world, especially those in developing nations who watched the beauty and strength of democracy unfold in the United States presidential election yesterday, would come to a greater and better appreciation of democracy as the key to building peaceful, stable and progressive societies."

Obama's victory was also celebrated at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, after which Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, told State House correspondents that Nigeria with the largest concentration of Africans in the world, must celebrate with the US.

"The election of Obama signifies what happened in Nigeria in 2011 when a minority was elected president of the country for the first time in its history," adding that just like America, Nigeria too has true democracy.

Just shortly after Romney conceded defeat, Cameron sent "warm congratulations to my friend (Obama)" through his personal Twitter account.

Tweeting on the final leg of his three-day tour of the Middle East, the prime minister added that he looked "forward to continuing to work together."

He followed up with an official statement later from Jordan, where he welcomed Obama's re-election.

"Well I'd like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election, I've really enjoyed working with him over these last few years and look forward to working with him again over the next four years," he said.

Putin, whose relations with Washington have often been frosty, sent a telegram congratulating Obama. "We hope that the positive beginnings that have taken hold in Russian-US relations on the world arena will grow in the interests of international security and stability," his spokesman said.

French President Francois Hollande hailed Obama's victory, which he said meant a "clear choice for an open, united America that is totally engaged on the international scene."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a letter to Obama that she "greatly values" cooperation.

She added that she looked forward to continuing cooperation "so both our countries can continue to stand side-by-side to contend with the important foreign policy and economic challenges that we face as friends and allies."

Also, Jintao, in a statement by China's foreign ministry, noted that "positive progress" had been made in Sino-US relations over the past four years.

"President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent messages of congratulations to President Obama on his being re-elected president of the United States," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

Netanyahu, despite the testy relationship between him and Obama, also posted a surprisingly warm message on the micro-blogging site alongside a smiling photograph of the pair in the Oval Office.

"The prime minister congratulates the President of the United States for his victory in the election," he later said in a statement.

"The strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the vital security interests of Israel and the United States."

The Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas, called on Obama to make the pursuit of Middle East peace efforts a priority of his second term.

In a statement issued through the country's official news agency, he "congratulated US President Barack Obama on his re-election as US president for a second term."

European Union President, Herman Van Rompuy, and his European Commission counterpart, José Manuel Barroso, in a joint statement said they had the "pleasure of extending our warm congratulations to President Obama."

They added: "The United States is a key strategic partner of the European Union and we look forward to continuing the close cooperation... to further strengthening our bilateral ties and to jointly addressing global challenges."

Ms. Gillard also used her personal account to send "sincere congratulations" on Obama's win. Later in a statement, Ms. Gillard said US leadership was "vital" to meeting global challenges, including maintaining international financial stability and economic growth, peace and security, and managing climate change.

Kibaki, president of Obama's ancestral country, told him that his kinsmen were celebrating his "well deserved victory".

US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley, called on Nigerians to work together, overcome their differences and demand accountability and transparency from their leaders as a way of furthering democracy in the country.

He said at a post-election breakfast meeting with top government officials and other stakeholders that the American people require such from their leaders.

McCulley described Obama's victory as a great celebration of American democracy.

On its part, the PDP appealed to Nigerian politicians to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and show it during elections.

Reacting to the election of Obama, PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said: "The swift manner of congratulations and the graceful conduct of the defeated candidate is a shining example of patriotism and submission to the overall will of the people.

PDP urged Nigerian politicians to take a cue from this saying: "the greatest threat to the stability of our democracy is the reckless bickering that happen after elections in Nigeria."

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