The United States Government has advised Nigerians to avoid inciting statements that could trigger violence, voter suppression or intimidation and thereby mar the electoral process.
Molly Phee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of States for African Affairs, gave the advice, on Wednesday, in Abuja during a roundtable with some Nigerian journalists.
Phee, whose advice is coming a few days before the 2023 general elections in the country, noted that having credible polls was the responsibility of all citizens.
She urged Nigerians to trust in the electoral process and accept the choice of the people when winners are announced while strongly admonishing citizens to refrain from post-election violence.
Pee also cautioned political parties and their candidates against voter suppression and intimidation.
The official further said her interactions with officials of INEC showed that they were prepared to hold elections in the country in spite of the current challenges.
“We recognise that Nigeria is undergoing a challenging time with the security problems, which have expanded across the country in recent years and with the current economic challenges, which initially, I thought was amplified by COVID, and now the implementation of the new naira policy.
“The assessment that has been relayed to me by the experts who are operating and managing your electoral process is that they are prepared and able to hold and host the elections across the country in spite of the many challenges.
“Again, this is where it is important for candidates, the political parties, and individual Nigerians to take responsibility for a successful election.
“So that in these intense few days before the elections there are no acts of voter intimidation through violence or voter suppression through violence.
“And on the election day, there is no violence as the winner is considered, the votes are tabulated, results are announced, people respect and abide by the voice of the Nigerian people.
“I think you have a good process, you have a good history since 1999 where after each election you get stronger and your system improves and I hear a desire and hunger for successful elections.
“And I am confident that you can meet that challenge,” Phee said.
The assistant secretary further said the U.S. government remains committed to supporting Nigeria’s democracy and a peaceful transition of power.
2023 Elections: US caution Nigerians against violence, voter intimidation