The United States has extended its congratulations to Nigeria following the recent election of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the ruling party. Although the results have been mired in controversy amid allegations of voter fraud and concerns over technical glitches, the US has urged for calm.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly discussed the election aftermath during a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama. The meeting was held on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in New Delhi.
The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, congratulated President-elect Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the February 25 polls in Africa’s most populous democracy. Price acknowledged that there were some Nigerians who expressed dissatisfaction with the results and had concerns over the manner in which the process was conducted. He also urged political leaders to register their concerns through established legal mechanisms.
Tinubu, the candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress, won 8.8 million votes, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission. The main opposition candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, snagged 6.9 million and 6.1 million votes, respectively.
The Nigerian officials had hoped that the introduction of new biometric voter identification technology would make the election the cleanest yet, but malfunctions, long delays and slow results have fueled the accusations of fraud. Price has called on all parties to refrain from violence or inflammatory rhetoric at this critical time.
The US believes that this competitive election represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy. It has urged Nigerians to have high expectations for their electoral process and for political leaders to work towards building trust in the electoral process.