The United States yesterday replied a statement by former President Goodluck Jonathan that the country interfered in the 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan, in his book ‘My Transition Hours,’ claimed that former U.S President Barrack Obama sent his secretary of state, John Kerry, to Nigeria to protest the postponement of the election by six weeks.
He wrote: “I can recall that President Obama sent his Secretary of State to Nigeria, a sovereign nation, to protest the rescheduling of the election. John Kerry arrived in Nigeria on Sunday, January 25, 2015 and said ‘it’s imperative that these elections happen on time as scheduled’.
“How can the US Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?
“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote. In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government. The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them.”
But in a live chat on Facebook on Tuesday, the Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Lagos, Mr. Russell Brooks, said Jonathan’s claims mischaracterised what Obama did in Nigeria.
He said “It was mischaracterised in the book about what President Obama or his administration did in Nigeria. The mischaracterisation here refers to not comprehending why we felt it was important for Nigeria to have a peaceful, free and fair election in 2015.
“And thereby people may not understand why we placed so much importance of having a peaceful, free and fair and transparent election in 2019.
“In the past, Nigeria’s elections had been beset by violence; there have been questions about the fairness of those elections. And we certainly believe that Nigeria can do better. In 2015, Nigeria did do better.
“There may have been some difficulties as they often times occur in elections whether here in Nigeria or in the United States. But Nigeria did do better and we believe Nigeria will continue to make progress.”
“We are helping them to make that progress through our support to INEC, civil societies here in Nigeria and through our assistance to the press in enabling them toward playing a positive role in the coverage of the election.
“All these show how important we believe it is for Nigeria to have an election process that can be credible and stand against any election anywhere in the world.”
He stressed that the U.S has no any favourable candidate for the 2019 election, saying that the country’s interest is for the process to be free and transparent.
“We don’t favour candidates. Our candidate is the process. The process should be free and fair. The process should be transparent,” he said.