US lawmaker blames Buhari for poll shift, says election must meet Jonathan's standard | Ripples Nigeria
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US lawmaker blames Buhari for poll shift, says election must meet Jonathan’s standard

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A United States (US) lawmaker, Chris Smith, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari and those around him should be blamed for the postponement of last Saturday presidential elections.

He also said that the minimum expectation Nigeria 2019 presidential election must meet is the 2015 standard where there was smooth transfer of power and the then President of the country, Goodluck Jonathan averted bloodshed with his statement.

The US lawmaker, a former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, stated this in a statement he entitled “On the Postponement of Elections in Nigeria”.

He said, “Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him. Actions in advance of the election — including removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen and arson attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission offices in opposition strongholds — are undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair. At a minimum, the presidential election must meet the 2015 standard, which saw a peaceful transfer of power and a statement by the then-sitting president that all bloodshed must be avoided.”

Smith went further to call upon the Trump Administration and the State Department to focus greater attention upon Nigeria.

“In addition to being sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is its biggest economy, and what happens in Nigeria has ramifications beyond its borders.

“Given the magnitude of global problems Secretary Pompeo must contend with, he should consider appointing a Special Envoy for Nigeria vested with full authority. The State Department must use all tools at its disposal, including visa denial and sanctioning authority, to hold accountable those who undermine democracy and foment sectarian and ethnic violence,” he said.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s order against ballot box snatchers shows Nigeria now in ‘full blown dictatorship’- Dogara

On the role of State Department, Rep. Smith asked Secretary Pompeo to conduct an internal investigation into why a handful of State Department officials had apparently pushed for a statement last month ‘welcoming’ the results of a fraudulent election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, defying a reported interagency consensus that had sought accountability and transparency.

“More than ‘unfortunately-timed,’ that statement accepting electoral fraud in the DRC sent a negative message throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

“Indeed, it may be directly contributing to the electoral chaos and violence we are seeing unfold in Nigeria. There must be an internal investigation at State and those responsible must be held to account,” he said.

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