Nigeria: U.S. Replies Jonathan, Pledges Neutrality in 2019 Polls

12 December 2018

United States (U.S.) Consulate in Nigeria has reacted to the allegations by former President Goodluck Jonathan that former President Barack Obama interfered in the 2015 presidential elections to favour President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Public Affairs Officer (PAO), Consulate General Lagos, Russell Brooks, in a live chat on Facebook, said that Jonathan erred by mischaracterisation.

He said that elections in Nigeria had been plagued by violence, expressing hope that the country would do better like it did in 2015.

Declaring that the U.S. would not be supporting any presidential candidate ahead of the 2019 election, it however affirmed White House's support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the media and civil society, especially in the area of capacity building.

He said: "It was mischaracterised in the book about what President Obama or his administration did in Nigeria. The mischaracterisation here refers to not comprehending why we felt it was important for Nigeria to have a peaceful, free and fair election in 2015. And people may not understand why we placed so much importance on having a peaceful, free, fair and transparent election in 2019.

"In the past, Nigeria's elections had been beset by violence. There have been questions about the fairness of those elections. And we certainly believe that Nigeria can do better. In 2015, Nigeria did better. There may have been some difficulties as they often occur in elections whether here in Nigeria or in the U.S. But Nigeria did better and we believe Nigeria will continue to make progress.

"We are not favouring or supporting any candidate. It is up to Nigerians to decide. Our candidate is the process. The process should be free and fair; it should be a non-violent process. I am not talking of any plus or minus of any candidate; we are not favouring any."

Jonathan in his book, 'My Transition Hours', claims that Obama interfered in the 2015 presidential election in favour of Buhari.

He berated the former U.S. president for sending the then Secretary of State, John Kerry, to Nigeria on the eve of the election to protest perceived moves to postpone the election.

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