The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said that the February 25 presidential elections fell short of Nigerians’ aspirations.
The United States ambassador noted that many people are unhappy and dissatisfied with the results, while others are celebrating hard-fought and well-earned gains.
She did, however, applaud Nigerians for their commitment to democracy.
Leonard encouraged the Independent National Electoral Commission to address the obstacles that may be remedied before the March 11 gubernatorial elections, as well as to conduct a larger examination of the flaws that occurred during the last elections and what can be done to repair them.
Moreover, she encouraged INEC to disclose information regarding its operations with the Nigerian people.
She said this in an op-ed titled ‘The Elections of February 25.’
She praised Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar for their determination to run legally in the presidential elections, as well as President-elect Bola Tinubu for recognizing their right to do so.
The statement partly reads, “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.”
Leonard also admitted that as much as it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.
She noted that the Nigerian electoral landscape is ‘indisputably’ changing.
With respect to the results from the presidential and National Assembly polls, she noted that “more than half of the states – 20 – the winning candidate represented a different party than that of the incumbent governor. Twelve of these states are led by APC governors.
“For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results.
“In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot: seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives.”
She however assured that as “Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you.”