Give Yourselves Credible Elections, US Envoy Tells Nigerians

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United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, yesterday called on Nigerians to give themselves credible elections in 2019 by avoiding acrimony and standing against electoral malpractices.

Symington made the call at the Peace and Security Network (PSN) Quarterly Roundtable with the theme, ‘Towards 2019 Elections in Nigeria: Securitisation of the Electoral Process and the Prevention of Violence’.

He said because there would be no election anywhere in the world in February, 2019, the attention of the entire globe would be on Nigeria and its citizens to provide credible polls.

According to him, only one thing will make the difference in 2019 and that is the ties that bind the people of Nigeria.

This, Symington explained, were ties of friendship, “of trust not of hate, but of love, not of desperation but of purpose; the ties growing ever stronger’’.

He said that during the life of a nation, there were moments such ties would be tested around elections, adding that it was now for the security forces and the government to resolve to work together.

“I stand for an idea of network, which is a network of Nigerians that will make elections succeed. It has to be a net, it has to be people and organisations linked to each other with strong bonds and purpose.

“Then, that net has actually got to work in every sphere and corner; it has to have people that are citizens woven together that represent government, electoral commissions, security services, federal, state, local officials.

“Secondly, it is more important in the world than Nigeria – the reason is that some people talk about the potential population of Nigeria which is already exploding.

“Now the question will be how to finance the energy and the opportunity of this extraordinary youthful population for the good of its entire people, its neighbours and the whole world,’’ he said.

The envoy advised security forces to act in a way that was true to their mandate and true to securing the country and not being partisan.

He also urged Nigerians to focus on doing good things together, saying something good that could bring about a new Nigeria because the world was watching and hopeful for violent-free elections.