The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has warned Nigerians not to allow tribal and religious differences to divide the country
Leonard noted this while addressing the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly elections.
She lamented that the previous election did not meet up to the expectations of some Nigerians but commended Nigerians for their love for democracy.
The US Ambassador urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to resolve all its technical difficulties ahead of the March 11 governorship and state house of assembly elections, and also address all problem related issues, during the last presidential election in Nigeria.
She further urged the commission, to remain fair and opened, while sharing all its activities with the Nigerian populace.
While commending the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, for taken the civil path, in seeking legal redress to solve the electoral grievances, she also appreciated the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for welcoming their decision to thread, through the path of the law.
However, she reassured the country’s support, during and after the forthcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections in Nigeria.
The statement partly reads, “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.”
Leonard, who noted the fact, there were issues arised, during the process of the last election, acknowledge that ending an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, noting that, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.
She acknowledged that the Nigerian electoral landscape is ‘indisputably’ changing, overtime.
Seeing the results from the presidential and National Assembly polls, she noted that “more than half of the states – 20 – the winning candidate represented a different party than that of the incumbent governor. Twelve of these states are led by APC governors.
“For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results.
“In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot: seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives,’ she stated.