United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has urged Nigerians to remain united and allow legal process for resolving challenges to the 2023 general election take its course.
In an opinion piece, titled ‘The Elections of February 25’, and dated March 5, the U.S. envoy said although “it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.”
Leonard admitted the electoral process of February 25 fell short of the expectations of Nigerians and called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to promptly address challenges ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections.
She said: “The people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on February 25, but there are many angry and frustrated Nigerians, as well as many who are celebrating victories they believe were hard-fought and well-earned.
“In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.
“We commend Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent statements, committing to take this path, and Mr. Tinubu, who INEC declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so.”
She urged INEC to “undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them.”
The ambassador also admonished the electoral umpire “in all cases, to share with the Nigerian public every information about the actions it is taking.”
She added: “The Nigerian people have made clear their desire for responsive and inclusive governance, and we strongly support their ability to express that desire.
“The United States and Nigeria are the two largest presidential democracies in the world, and longtime partners.
“As Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you.”