Presidential polls: Buhari’s camp raises concerns over alleged US, EU support for Atiku

February 12th, 2019



By Ezeocha Nzeh

Ahead of Saturday’s presidential elections, the Buhari Campaign Organisation has raised concerns and fear of bias by the United States of America, the European Union and the international community.

Spokesperson of the campaign organization, Festus Keyamo, on Monday, accused the United States Ambassador, Stuart Symington, and other western ambassadors of not maintaining their neutrality in the poll, alleging their bias and tacit support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.

Keyamo in a statement, while reacting to threats by Symington that persons who indulge in hate speeches would be dealt with, accused the international community of already taken sides ahead of the elections.

Symington, who spoke a day after Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el – Rufai, threatened that foreigners who interfere in the elections would leave the country in body bags also warned that any politician whose utterances incite people to violence would be held to account for the crime.

Keyamo, who regretted that the utterances of western powers are giving the impression that Buhari is planning to rig Saturday’s elections, accused the US government of double standard, while questioning the government’s decision to issue a Visa to Atiku, despite being accused of corruption.

The statement read in part, “We take the view that the constant statements by Ambassador Symington and the other diplomats are implicit attacks against the government of Nigeria. These statements imply the Nigerian government is inclined to rig the election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is unfair and unacceptable to us. President Muhammadu Buhari has never been accused of electoral malpractice all his life.

“However, in contrast, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar publicly boasted a few months ago that he rigged the 2003 election in the Southwest States. Here, we have an open confession of blatant electoral malfeasance by the PDP candidate. But in all of these, there seems to be no concern by Ambassador Symington and other diplomats about this well-acknowledged proclivity of the main opposition.

“We are deeply concerned about many of the expressions of the United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador W. Stuart Symington and other Western Diplomats which have been directed towards Nigeria’s upcoming elections. Whilst we laud and whole-heartedly welcome their interests in the elections, many of these expressions have been notably off-key. The continued warnings about ‘flawed elections’ is capable of casting an unwarranted cloud over the process. Instead of encouraging our country toward credible elections, such statements undermine public confidence. It would appear that these envoys seem to have discredited the election before it has even taken place.”

Keyamo said threatening to deal with persons who make certain utterances was an abuse of free speech which is guaranteed by both the Nigerian and the United States constitutions.

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