U.S. President Joe Biden called on Thursday, February 23, for Nigeria’s presidential election on Saturday to be peaceful and transparent.
Biden also urged candidates and parties to accept the results as announced by the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Nigerians are set on Saturday to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections that are seen as the most wide-open since Africa’s most populous nation switched from military rule to democracy in 1999.
Of the 18 candidates vying to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, three stand a chance.
Former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, 70, the ruling party (All Progressives Congress) candidate; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party), 76, the main opposition candidate; Peter Obi (Labour Party), 61, a challenger popular among young voters.
Biden also lauded the participating political parties and their presidential candidates for signing the peace accord yesterday ahead of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
The US president, in the statement, reiterated that by signing the pledge, the parties and candidates have committed to accept the results of the election, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, and to support a peaceful transition of power.
Biden’s statement as released by the US Consulate General partly reads, “Elections are a fundamental part of a functioning democracy, and all Nigerians deserve this chance to choose their future — freely and fairly.
“While the United States does not support any single candidate or party, we strongly support a peaceful and transparent process that reflects the will of the people of Nigeria.
“On election day, I encourage all Nigerians — no matter their religion, region, or ethnicity —to exercise this fundamental freedom and make their voices heard — including young voters, many of whom may be heading to the ballot box for the first time.
“The United States stands with the Nigerian people as they chart a path toward a more democratic, prosperous, and secure future. I appreciate President Buhari’s firm commitment that the will of the people will be respected. And in the coming days, I encourage voters to remain peaceful and patient as their ballots are tallied, and urge the political parties and candidates to live up to their pledge.”