US Replies APC, Denies Backing Atiku

Stuart Symington

Polls: US Denies Backing PDP, Atiku

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The United States of America has denied allegations that it is providing support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the February 16 presidential election.

The US embassy, in apparent response to allegations by the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), said the US remains neutral and would continue to work with whomever emerges as president at the polls slated for Saturday.

The spokesperson of the BCO, Festus Keyamo (SAN), had, on Monday, claimed that the utterances of the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, and those of other countries, seemed to give tacit support for Atiku.

Reacting to the allegation, the US embassy in a statement Tuesday, reiterated that the US remains committed to the deepening of democracy in Nigeria, adding that it still does not have the sympathy of any party or candidate.

“The United States Embassy in Nigeria wishes to reiterate, unequivocally, that we are not taking sides in Nigeria’s election. We do not support any party or candidate. We support a level playing field and the democratic process,” the embassy said in a statement.

The US also advised Nigerians against unsubstantiated report, noting that as the elections draw nearer, there would be a significant increase of fake news and rumours.

In stressing its long standing partnership with Nigeria, the embassy said the US provided over $1 billion in aid to Nigeria and directly helps at least two million people.

“We provide more than $1bn in assistance and help, save more than two million lives of Nigerians each year through our health and humanitarian assistance,” the statement read in part.

It added that the situation would not change irrespective of who wins the election.

“This election is Nigeria’s, but it is also important for Nigeria’s neighbours and for the world.

“The United States looks forward to a similar result this week.”

The US noted that the choice of who leads Nigeria remains a decision of its citizens, but it would nevertheless continue to support Nigeria’s democracy.

The embassy however urged security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all relevant stakeholders to remain neutral in Saturday’s elections.