Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington has admonished the governorship candidates of various political parties to observe decorum and imbibe spirit of sportsmanship before, during and after the election.
The ambassandor, who made the call in Katsina, Saturday, when he paid abcourtesy visit to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, at the Government House, insisted that the U. S government was not supporting any candidate in the forthcoming election.
Mr Symington reiterated that the US Embassy would not interfere in the country’s electoral process, adding that his visit to the state was to talk to political office seekers who have interest in governing the state on the need to maintain peace.
He said: “My visit to Katsina is to talk to those who seek to lead Katsina in the future about some of their ideas. We never have a candidate in an election. We never take side but we do take side in peace. So, as the people of Katsina look forward to participate in this election next week, they should note that security is very fundamental and the security is not the job of security persons alone but of everybody in the state”.
He urged Nigerians to go out and exercise their franchise on the day of the election and shun acts capable of truncating the electoral process, adding, “And remember, as you vote, it is your choice. We have no candidate, no party, except the very democratic process itself”.
While calling on the governorship and state House Assembly candidates to consider the interest of the country against their personal interests, the ambassador said: “Elections come and go but our nations remain. So, we look forward to see your cooperation to ensure a rancor-free election in Nigeria”.
Responding, Governor Masari reminded his visitor that the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in the state embarked on issue-based campaigns across the 34 local government areas of the state in an atmosphere devoid of chaos.
He said: “What is historic about this year’s campaigns which we ran throughout the 34 LGAs is that we never had an incident of violence and also none of the young men and women following us carried a single arm.
“Likewise when the President came, it was the biggest political gathering ever in Katsina State no weapon or any harmful instruments were seen and he came, addressed the people and went to Daura, not even a motorcycle accident”.
He said the APC government had given the opposition parties in the state a level-playing ground to discharge their electioneering process, saying his ‘administration has accorded all the facilities available that the opposition required when their presidential candidates came’.
The governor re-emphaised that his government would continue to protect the lives and property of the citizenry irrespective of religious, tribal and political affiliations, explaining that it was the responsibility of government to sustain peace in the state.