Presidential poll failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations – US Ambassador
Eight days after Nigeria held its presidential poll, the United States, has said that the exercise failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election after polling 8,794,726 votes, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abubakar, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.
However, both Atiku and Obi have faulted the presidential election, vowing to challenge the result in court.
In a statement on Sunday, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said many citizens are angry and frustrated with the results, while some others 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,” the US Ambassador stated.
“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.
“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.
“In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.”
The US envoy called on INEC to promptly address the challenges that can be resolved ahead of the March 11 governorship elections, urging the electoral body to undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them.
She also commended Nigerians for demonstrating their dedication to democracy, asking INEC to share with the Nigerian public information about the actions it is taking.
Leonard commended Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar for their commitment to take the legal path in contesting the presidential elections and also the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, for acknowledging their right to do so.
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