The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, has noted that the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections did not meet the expectations of Nigerians.
Leonard, who stated this in an op-ed titled “The Elections of February 25” on Sunday, however, commended the presidential candidates of the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, respectively, for choosing to challenge the election results in court, rather than resorting to violence.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the poll, to the dissatisaction of Obi and Atiku.
The US ambassador noted that the February 25 poll resulted in mixed feeling and urged INEC to resolve the issues experienced ahead of the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
She noted, “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.
“It is clear that the electoral process as a whole on February 25 failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations. As I said numerous times prior to the elections, Nigeria has accomplished much in just the two-plus decades since the return to democracy, and a gradual improvement in the quality of its elections in that time constitutes one of those accomplishments. We recognise that Nigerians want that positive trend to continue, including through the use of new technology intended to make the process of reporting results more transparent.
“We thus reiterate our call on INEC to address promptly the challenges that can be resolved ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections, and to undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them. In all cases, INEC should share with the Nigerian public information about the actions it is taking.”