2019 Elections: Nigeria is Our Priority- United States
The American government has stated that Nigeria’s upcoming 2019 general elections and a peaceful transition, are its main priority due to Nigeria’s strategic position and influence in the West African sub-region.
This is following a background report of the first trip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Africa, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in New York.
Tillerson is due to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government dignitaries, and also leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his travels from March 6 to 13.
The US Department of state said that just twenty years ago there were only three or four countries in Africa with a really democratically elected government.
However, “now we had over two dozens African countries with democratically elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup d’etat and other illegal methods.”
“As we look at the 20 elections, obviously Nigeria, though it’s not this year – it’s going to be next year – that really is a major priority focus, because that’s going to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050.
“It has really very complex political issues and ethnic and tribal issues and security issues.
“And that’s an area that we really are focusing on how to do a peaceful transition, a democratic transition, but more important is how to hold governments accountable to the people,” the state department said.
The department stated that of those African countries many were still fragile democracies and the US was trying to strengthen them.
The US applauded the most recent elections in Liberia, saying it was the first open, fair, and peaceful transition of governments in over 75 years, saying that was a good thing.
It regretted what it called the “horrendous rule of Charles Taylor and the degradation of the institutions there, but now we’ll going back and they’re building, and I think with the election of George Weah that’s going to be a positive thing.”
The US also commended the Ghanaian elections of Nana Akufo-Addo and Alassane Ouattara in Cote d’Ivoire and Macky Sall in Senegal, describing them as positive developments.
It said, however, that Ethiopia remained a challenge for the US and a focus for it as well and an opportunity.