Replicate 2015 performance in 2019 poll, USA tells INEC

The United States government has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replicate its 2015 electoral performance in the country’s general elections billed for next year.

It also restated its stand on the 2015 general elections, describing it as quite transparent.

The Counselor for Public Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, Mr Aruba S G Amirthanayagam, said the 2015 election was generally acknowledged as free, fair and transparent.

He made the observation in Minna, Niger state on Tuesday during a courtesy visit on the Executive Director of Prestige FM radio station, Alhaji Zubair Idris.

“The United States expect that the 2019 general election will be free and transparent. I think we should repeat the success we had in the last election because we have had elections in some parts of Africa that have not gone well.

“What we got in 2015 was great for Nigeria and for the rest of Africa and other developing countries” he said, adding that “America will not take side; we want the winner to be elected in a free and fair contest and we will do all we can to assist Nigeria’s government.”

Asked to comment on the statement credited to President Donald Trump that Nigeria’s President was “lifeless” when he paid a visit to White House recently, the Counselor said “we have no specific comment on that, a newspaper published it; the paper should comment on it”.

The Counselor who also spoke on the Prestige FM radio personality programme said there was impunity in Nigeria, adding that “Impunity is a threat to democracy”.

He commended the management of the station for exhibiting a high sense of professionalism in its reportage and programmes, while describing it as “very vibrant”.

He said the US government would assist in further enhancing the station’s professionalism through training of its staffs.

In his remark, the Executive Director of the station, Alhaji Idris promised that the management would continue to ensure that the station maintain its independency, adding, ” what we are doing here is participatory broadcasting”

The Executive Director who was accompanied by a Director in the organisation, Alhaji Mahmood Abdullahi said “truth is our watchword in this organisation”.

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