The United States government yesterday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to fail Nigerians and the international community in its conduct of the February, 2015 general elections in the country.
Making this warning during a public hearing of the United States Congress’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations which was held inside the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC , Honorable Robert P. Jackson, principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, added that his country was working closely with INEC on processes to ensure as many eligible voters as possible are free to exercise their civic duty safely.
His words: “As part of our broad support to Nigeria’s election, we are working closely with Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on processes to ensure as many eligible voters as possible are free to exercise their civic duty safely.”
The US official pressed further that his country was doing everything it could to support the efforts of INEC and the commission’s chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, as they distribute voter registration cards (PVCs) and electronic card readers , develop a communications plan and prepare plans for dispute resolution and violence mitigation.
To increase the transparency of the electoral process and its ability to assess its credibility, Hon. Jackson noted that the U.S. government is funding and fielding complementary election observation missions across Nigeria, stressing that Nigeria’s success during and after the elections is important to his country, to Africa and to the world.
He pressed further that a peaceful and stable Nigeria was crucially important to the future of Africa, adding that the government of his country could not stay on the sidelines if it stumbles. He also noted that now more than ever, the United States is committed to its strong bilateral relationship with Nigeria just as it is engaged with Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against Boko Haram.
Jackson, while speaking on insecurity, noted that the United States stands ready to work with Nigeria and its people, adding that helping Nigeria combat insecurity in the North East and address its root causes, including expanding economic opportunity to all Nigerians are enduring challenges that will remain on the US agenda.