The United States has expressed confidence in the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2023 elections.
Mary Beth Leonard, U.S ambassador to Nigeria, said this at the 20th Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja.
Leonard said the US favours no candidate but seeks a peaceful and transparent election in Nigeria.
She said, “The United States supports credible and transparent elections that will reflect the will of the people in a process that will be conducted peacefully. We have confidence in INEC to conduct the elections.
“2023 is an opportunity for Nigeria to claim its place as the democratic leader in Africa. We favour no candidate. We favour open and transparent elections conducted in a peaceful process. This is the foundation of democracy and legitimate transfer of power.
“It’s good that we reflect on the fact that since 1999, Nigerians voters have successfully exercise their democratic rights. For more than two decades, Nigeria has demonstrated to Africa and the world its strong commitment to peaceful and transparent elections.”
She said that at a time when democracy is being tampered with in many places in Africa, the practice is deepening in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, Malam Kabir Yusuf, Chairman, Media Trust Group, said this year’s dialogue is special because it is coming a month before the general elections.
He said the dialogue is Media Trust’s little contribution to the the efforts to bring peace to the country.
He welcomed the guests to the occasion chaired by Archbishop (Emeritus) John Cardinal Onaiyekan, HRH Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed, former chairman, First Bank of Nigeria and first female chairman of First Bank, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Professor of Political Science and member of the Board of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Lecturer, Analysis of Business Problems, Lagos Business School. Dr. Yetunde Anibaba and Human Capacity Development Specialist and CEO, Heltoni Services Limited, Dr. Eugene Enahoro.
Among the dignitaries in attendance are Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, former governor of Katsina State; Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesman Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF); Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, INEC.