U.S. claims credit for Nigeria’s 2011 electoral success

By Konye Obaji Ori

Posted on June 14, 2011 09:38

Washington has claimed credit for some of the 2011 election succes in Nigeria. According to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, America had offered technical support to Nigeria in the area of conducting credible polls.

Speaking in Lusaka, Zambia at the U.S. African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) summit, at the weekend, Clinton revealed that the U.S. government worked with Nigeria for the conduct of the election, saying “we’ve worked very closely with the Nigerian government, with the new President, Goodluck Jonathan.”

“We helped them improve their electoral commission, and the president put honest people in who only wanted to count the votes. We helped them improve their systems of sending the voting materials out into the country. They went through the election, and everybody said they were free and fair.” Clinton is quoted as saying by the U.S. State Department.

The 2011 Nigerian election followed controversy as to whether a Muslim or Christian should be allowed to become president, given the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s tradition of rotating the top office between the religions, after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua who was a northern Muslim.

“We’re working to try to make sure that we offer whatever help we can. We’ve been working closely in Kenya, in Nigeria, and elsewhere. We’ve offered help here in Zambia. We think there are a number of steps that can be taken to make sure that the elections run smoothly here. Because if there is violence, investors say, wait a minute, maybe I should think twice, and we don’t want that to happen.”

After Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, was declared the winner of April’s presidential elections, widespread violence took place in the predominantly Muslim north.

Commenting on post-election violence in Africa, the Secretary of State expressed the U.S government’s hopes for more democratic elections that are free, fair, transparent, and where the losers honour the outcome.

“India now has one of the best electoral systems in the world…So, we’re learning more and we can help, as we are. We have people helping Zambia right now and we will offer whatever help we can,” she disclosed…There are technical ways of helping,” Clinton added.

Promising that the U.S. government will revamp AGOA on a government-to-government level, Hilary Clinton said: “Certainly President Obama and I and other officials working with us are very focused on working with African governments and listening to them on issues of trade and economic cooperation”.

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