United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has admonished Nigerians to ensure that they perform their electoral right and stand to defend their votes in the forthcoming general elections.
On Tuesday in a broadcast published on his official Twitter handle, @AmbSymington, the diplomat reiterated the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a level-playing field for every candidate without any form of compromise.
He also called for a free, fair and credible election devoid of political violence in order to sustain the nation’s democracy.
“The elections are a remarkable opportunity for all Nigerians to come together and for every citizen to express their will. What the United States hopes to see in your elections in this year 2019 are elections that are free, fair, credible and above all transparent. In this process, I know one thing: it is absolutely important for the citizens of Nigeria to personally take part, beginning right now by knowing what your rights are. On Election Day, you won’t have an effect unless you vote. It’s important that you work together to make sure that your votes are counted.
“As we get ready for your elections, one of the most important things is that there is level-playing field, meaning that no officials, no security forces, no electoral officials, no politicians seek to influence you in a way that is not consistent with Nigerian law.
“Elections are only one part of the democratic process. The words and the actions that happen in these final days and all the work of government afterwards, are as important to democracy as the elections themselves.
“So, in a nutshell, know your rights. Two, vote and exercise them. Three, if you work for the government or for a party, make sure you remember that it is your individual responsibility to act consistently with the laws.
“And remember that elections are only one part of democracy. And on this level-playing field, it is incredibly important that there has to be a path for the future for every Nigerian. Whatever your faith or language or where you come from, finding your path forward together is the heart of democracy; it’s the heart of freedom. It’s the hope for free enterprise and free people. And it’s Nigeria’s future.”