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Elections: US threatens Nigeria with sanctions

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2007/04/13 | Views: 1433 |

Elections: US threatens Nigeria with sanctions


The United States has threatened to review its relations with Nigeria and rally its allies to sanction the country should tomorrow’s elections and presidential election scheduled for next week produce an "illegitimate government".

• Kalu accuses FG of plan to announce fictitious results in Abia

The United States has threatened to review its relations with Nigeria and rally its allies to sanction the country should tomorrow’s elections and presidential election scheduled for next week produce an "illegitimate government".

The US government, through Senator Russ Feingold, chairman of the Africa Sub-Committee in the United States Congress, lampooned President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Prof Maurice Iwu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), accusing them of lack of commitment to free and fair elections as well as limiting competition.

"By almost all accounts, Nigeria is simply not ready to conduct this election and the president and the chairman of INEC should be held accountable for that failure," Feingold said.

"If this month’s polls do not produce a legitimate, fairly elected government, however, the United States and our allies will need to reconsider our political and material support to Nigeria," Feingold said in a statement.

Recalling that Obasanjo had promised to heal wounds in 2003, Feingold added that "instead, in the run-up to this month’s polls, he has sparked fresh outrage by using the Independent National Electoral Commission to limit competition, not promote it; by repressing dissent rather than encourage free speech; by harassing domestic observers and obstructing the free and fair participation of opposition candidates."

According to him, "these abuses reveal the need for substantial electoral reform if Nigeria is to continue becoming a role model of democracy in Africa and around the world."
"Last November, the U.S Senate unanimously passed a resolution I introduced that called upon the government of Nigeria and the Independent National Electoral Commission to demonstrate a commitment to successful democratic elections and promised continued US and international support for this effort," he said.

Expressing displeasure, the U.S Senator noted: "With the first set of votes just days (hours) away, I am disheartened by the poor performance of these individuals and institutions in the lead-up to these historic polls."

Feingold added that Nigeria’s recent economic growth, domestic security and international reputations are all at stake "because development, stability and credibility cannot be sustained in a dysfunctional political system."
He warned that Nigeria’s general elections were critical, adding: "If problems related to this month’s elections lead to unrest and instability in Nigeria, the impact could unsettle the region, indirectly by example and by directly weakening one of the most important forces for peace and progress on the continent."

Meanwhile, Governor Kalu, speaking through his Special Adviser, Media Affairs, Mr. Iyke Ekeoma, while reacting to accusations leveled against him by President Obasanjo during a PDP campaign rally in Umuahia on Tuesday wondered why an occupant of the exalted office of the President would descend to the level of making uncouth statements on national television.

He noted that the statement by President Obasanjo that he was deceived into commissioning a road he later learnt had been commissioned by three other people only showed that the president has been running the country on rumours for eight years.
Governor Kalu explained that former Presidents Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who purportedly commissioned the same project, visited Abia long after President Obasanjo visited the state and wondered how they could have commissioned roads before the president.

The Abia governor also raised alarm on the statement by Obasanjo that the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria stations in the state would be used by the PDP as a propaganda tool during the elections and noted that the president had inadvertently revealed the plan of the PDP to use these media to announce fictitious results after the elections.
He warned the PDP not to transfer the confusion currently ravaging the party to the general polity and reiterated his call on Nigerians to dump the PDP at polls.

Governor Kalu noted that the dismal turnout of people at the PDP rally in Umuahia, when compared with the near total shut-down of Aba for the PPA rally in the city on the same day, sends a clear signal as to where the people stand. He advised the PDP to leave peacefully after their defeat at the polls.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.