2019 polls: US speaks on preferred candidate in Nigeria

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The United States on Thursday said it has no preferred candidate in the 2019 general elections, saying it is only interested about the process through which leaders emerged.

“We don’t care who wins but the process,” said US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Mr Tibor Nagy, while hosting INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu at the residence of the US Ambassador in Abuja.

He said while Nigerians have absolute right to choose their leaders, the process through which such leaders emerged must be transparent, free and fair to all.

Nagy noted that the task before the commission is a very difficult one given the enormity of the process, but expressed confidence that INEC would be up to the task.

He therefore urged politicians to caution their supporters against violence before, during and after the elections. He also advised security agencies to remain neutral in the process.

“Regarding the plans for the February elections, we will remain very interested…We understand all of the complexities and we want to specially urge all the parties concerned to please urge all of their followers to be non-violent and also to urge all of the organs of state security especially to remain neutral in this process because the neutrality of the state is absolutely essential”, he said.

US Ambassador, Stuart Symington said “election is not all about Election Day but all the processes leading to the election.”

He urged Nigerian voters to avail themselves the opportunity provided by the recent display of the voters register to screen the list properly.

INEC Chairman assured that the commission has put in place machinery to protect the integrity of the process.

“We want to make 2019 a further affirmation of the maturity of the Nigerian democracy and we are committed to these processes.

“We will do our best to ensure that we maintain the credibility of the process and I want to assure you that we will not let the international community down,” he said.

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