Nigeria: Buhari, Clinton Speak After Cancelled Nigeria Trip

President Muhammadu Buhari.
14 February 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has appreciated former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, for his continuous support for Nigeria and the growth of her democracy.

The president, who took a telephone call from President Clinton Wednesday night, described him as a friend of the country and commended him for his constant support for the peace, stability, and progress of Nigeria under a democratic dispensation.

President Buhari also assured him of his commitment to free, fair and credible elections in the weeks ahead," presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina said in a statement Thursday.

President Clinton, who regretted his inability to visit the country to witness the signing of the final peace accord before the general elections, wished Nigeria well as her citizens go to the polls.

Cancelled trip

Mr Clinton was expected to be in Abuja on Wednesday to attend the signing of a peace accord between Mr Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The event was organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, former military head of state.

Mr Clinton was also expected to hold meetings with the two presidential candidates.

On Monday, Angel Ureña, Mr Clinton's spokesperson, said the visit had been cancelled because it might be politicised in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee.

"President Clinton appreciates General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the Nigerian National Peace Committee's invitation to travel to Nigeria," the statement said.

"He is incredibly supportive and respectful of the committee's efforts, of the election process, and of the work being done to try to ensure a peaceful, free, fair, and transparent outcome.

"This is a crucial time in Nigeria, and President Clinton is hopeful that the election's outcome reflects the will of the Nigerian people.

"Over the course of the last several days, and after various conversations with the different stakeholders, it's become apparent that President Clinton's visit to Nigeria has the potential to be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee. Therefore, he will not be traveling to Abuja.

"He looks forward to talking to both candidates and General Abubarkar this week."

The announcement came after Mr Buhari's campaign organisation accused the U.S. of interfering in the forthcoming elections.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the campaign council, Festus Keyamo, accused the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, of "overstepping" his diplomatic brief.

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