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Published On: Thu, Jan 29th, 2015

US envoy reiterates commitment to free, fair polls in Nigeria

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American-flagFrom Seyi Ojelade, Ibadan

US Consul-General in Nigeria, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins has reiterated his country’s stance that the February polls must be free and fair nationwide.

Hawkins said this when he visited Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday.

He said that he and his team were in the state to discuss issues relating to politics and governance, maintaining that this is a critical period in the history of Nigeria.

He reiterated the position of the US Secretary of State that it was very important for the coming elections to be free, fair and credible.

“It is very important for this election to be peaceful. The poll should reflect the wishes of Nigerians. We look forward to a great contest where the people would get the leadership they desire.

“My Secretary of State had earlier stressed the need for free, fair and credible polls that would reflect the wishes of Nigerians. The US will continue to look for ways of helping our Nigerian partners to ensure a successful election,’’ the envoy said.

Speaking, Governor Ajimobi pledged to maintain his pedigree of peace before, during and after next month’s general elections in the state, even as he urged other governorship candidates to eschew violence during the electioneering process.

The governor said he would spare no efforts to maintain the peace in the general interest of the people and the development of the state.

“We labored hard to ensure the enthronement of the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in the state today. Our administration has received a lot of commendations for this feat and we cannot afford to sit by and allow anybody to truncate the hard-earned peace and tranquility.

“Let me also use this opportunity to make a passionate plea to my fellow contestants to go about their campaign without violence. They should not unleash violence on the same people we are aspiring to govern, for whatever reason,’’ he said.

Governor Ajimobi commended the United States for helping to nurture the country’s democracy, the latest of which he said was the recent visit to Nigeria by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry on the forthcoming presidential election.

He particularly thanked Hawkins and his team for the periodic visits and support to the state which he said had strengthened the ties between the US and the state culturally, socio-economically and politically.


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