U.S pledges to ensure credible 2023 general election

She said that the U.S. would provide necessary support to ensure that the election reflected the will of the people as well to ensure it was conducted peacefully.

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Ms Mary Leonard,

Ms Mary Leonard, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, has reassured of supporting Nigeria toward ensuring that the 2023 general election is free, fair, and credible.
Leonard said this at the 20th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme “Interrogating the 2023 Presidential Agenda” in Abuja.
She said that the U.S. would provide the necessary support to ensure that the election reflected the will of the people as well as to ensure it was conducted peacefully.
She said that the 2023 elections were a pivotal opportunity for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy to solidify its place as a democratic leader.
“Elections are the foundation of democracy and the basis for the legitimate transfer of power. We favour no candidate; we favour an open, transparent and peaceful process.
“The U.S has full confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its ability to organise and conduct credible and transparent elections.
“Our confidence stems in part from the signing of the Electoral Act of 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This key legislation strengthened Nigeria’s electoral system, for example, through the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), there are proven methods to improve transparency and drastically reduce vote tampering,” she said.
Leonard said that the media also had a vital role to ensure that Nigerian voters had accurate news and facts before, during and after election.
She urged political parties to adhere to their peace commitment and the September 2022 pledge to ensure peaceful poll.
She said that the U.S would stand firm with Nigerian voters’ demand and desire for complete transparency and electoral integrity.
She reiterated that individuals who undercut or undermine the democratic process in any way including through violence may be found ineligible for visas to U.S.
She added that the U.S. took steps in the past to restrict, deny or cancel visas adding that “visa records are confidential,we don’t announce the identities of those sanctioned.
“We look to all Nigerians to speak out against the use of violence or inflammatory rhetoric.”
Leonard said it was also essential that candidates, their parties and supporters do not make brash predictions of victory or instantly claim fraud if they lose at the ballot.
She urged candidates and parties to accept the fundamental truth that losing was always possible.
Malam Kabiru Yusuf, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Media Trust Group ,said that the 2023 dialogue holding five weeks to election gave opportunity for some crystal gazing.

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Yusuf said that there was need for the government and its security agencies to be aware of the security challenges across the nation from the North West and East to the South East.
“This deliberate disenfranchisement will feed into the separatist agenda and become self-fulfilling prophesy.

“When you add this to the online and offline political vitriol dirty tricks campaign and the dirtier money making the rounds ;it is hard to envisage an uncontested electoral outcome.

“Indeed ,if we the citizens ignore the provocations ,Nigeria could be the ultimate winner at the polls ,it is our collective interest to give this country another chance to rise from the ashes,” he said.

Yusuf said that effort was made to bring the leading presidential candidates live to the event but they were all busy.