Political actors involved in the recently conducted governorship election in Edo State may have escaped the hammer of visa restrictions by the United States government.
1st News can report that the US government has expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the Edo elections. The election, conducted on Saturday, September 19, saw incumbent Godwin Obaseki retain his seat for another term.
Specifically, the US government made its position known on Wednesday in a message posted on Facebook. The message was posted on the page of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria.
Equally important, the US congratulated the people of Edo people for a credible and peaceful poll.
In addition, the Donald Trump administration hailed the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); as well as the security agencies for the positive roles played during the election.
1st News recalls the US government had threatened a visa ban on would-be perpetrators of electoral fraud in the Edo polls. Indeed, it had also announced visa sanctions on some politicians who had interfered with the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.
The US said: “Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy.
“We recognize the critical role that Gov. Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace. Also, we also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.”
Nevertheless, the US expressed dissatisfaction over reported cases of violence and vote-buying; as well as the intimidation of voters and civil society observers. Also, it called on all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security agencies to improve the electoral process; especially during the October 10 Ondo State governorship election.
“The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election; and reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.
“We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.
“As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both countries,” the United States added.