Earlier today, President Obama released a message to the Nigerian people to highlight the opportunity that the upcoming elections present for all Nigerians to stand together in rejecting violence and extremism, and instead show their support for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future. The United States is proud to support Nigeria in this important milestone, and the President’s message is that every Nigerian can play a role in advancing opportunity and progress by casting a vote. These elections come at an especially important time, as Nigeria and its regional partners battle the senseless and brutal violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. A peaceful and credible election held without further delay will send a clear signal that the will of the Nigerian people and the strength of Nigeria’s union will not be undermined by terrorism.
Nigeria is a great nation with a rich history, and this election is an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of its democracy. As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls in the coming days, President Obama’s message makes clear to the presidential candidates and their supporters that there is no room for violence in the democratic process. The President emphasizes that Nigerian leaders and candidates bear responsibility to ensure a credible election. The Nigerian people too have an obligation to safeguard the integrity of the democratic process and voice their opinions peacefully, no matter which candidates win.
The eyes of the world are on Nigeria, and Nigerians have a historic opportunity to strengthen their democracy and build on the gains from the 2011 election. “In this task of advancing the security, prosperity, and human rights of all Nigerians, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” said President Obama in his message to the Nigerian people.