The February 25 presidential election is attracting the world’s interest because of Nigeria’s position as the world’s most populated black nation.
However, the United States government has said that it has no preferred candidate in the forthcoming election.
United States consul general in Nigeria, Will Stevens said this in a town hall meeting organised by the Niger-Delta Open Observatory (NOGO) in Asaba, the capital of Delta, on Saturday.
According to him, the US government’s only interest is that the election is free, fair and violence-free.
Stevens said that the US government would deny visas to anyone who encourages electoral violence, adding that “when Nigerians come to vote, it shows the strength of democracy to the rest of the world”.
“The US does not have a preferred candidate, full stop! We are not interested in a particular party or candidate. What we are interested in is free, fair, and credible elections that represent the people.
“These elections are important. Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world; so, when the people of Nigeria come to vote, they are showing the strength of democracy to the rest of the world.
“We in the United States will discourage any politicians, citizens, or other parties who are encouraging electoral violence or seeking to undermine the electoral process,” Stevens said.
In 2020, the US government imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
In November 2022, Stevens announced that the US government had allocated $50 million for technical assistance, support and training of journalists, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.