Nigeria: Why We Are Interested in Bayelsa Election - U.S.

13 November 2019

The United States Government said on Wednesday it would extend its longstanding commitment to supporting the conduct of a credible election in Bayelsa State on Saturday.

The U.S Consul-General in Lagos, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, made the promise in Lagos while briefing some select journalists ahead of the November 16 election in Bayelsa.

Pierangelo said: "I would like to reiterate the U.S. Mission's longstanding commitment to supporting free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in Nigeria.

"It is our desire to see nothing less during the November 16 election in Bayelsa State."

According to her, the US government has assisted Nigeria with strengthening the electoral process since 1999.

Pierangelo said that since 1990, the US elections-related diplomacy and programme had sought to advance three main objectives.

She added: "First, we support a free and fair electoral process, including technical assistance to Nigeria's election institutions and civil society in addition to our active monitoring of both general and off-cycle elections.

"Second, we consistently work to prevent and mitigate election-related violence, including peacebuilding programmes and messaging.

"Third, we encourage an expansion in Nigerian civic and political engagement, including support to Nigerian civil society's election observation efforts and parallel vote tabulation, as well as campaigns such as 'Vote, Not Fight' that promote peaceful political involvement by Nigeria's youth."

The consul-general said she had, ahead of the election, visited Bayelsa and met with the leading candidates and leadership of the political parties.

Pierangelo said the visit provided her the opportunity to engage with public and private key stakeholders in the state and expressed the US expectations from the election.

"The Bayelsa election provides a channel for the citizens to choose a leader who will govern fairly and ensure access to basic services for all of its citizens.

"As a friend of Nigeria and its people, we will follow the election closely. We will be out there in the field observing the election.

"We will work closely with our colleagues and partners in the international community to promote a credible process that will benefit the people of Bayelsa," the consul-general concluded. (NAN)

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