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The United States has asked major actors in the upcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to be mindful of their conduct, saying it has been closely monitoring activities ahead of the polls.
A Thursday evening statement from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja said a peaceful and credible election will be in the best interest of the Nigerian people, warning desperate politicians to desist from subverting the process.
“The United States Government does not support any specific candidate or party in any Nigerian election. The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process,” the statement said.
“We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections,” it added.
The comments come as violence escalates in the two states ahead of Saturday. Several deaths have been reported in both states, and a major election observers’ group, CDD, warned that the conduct of politicians in Kogi could render the exercise bloody.
The U.S., United Kingdom and other Western countries have regularly issued warnings to politicians who foment violence during election as part of their election monitoring activities. It, however, remained unclear whether the countries live up to their threats as decisions relating to individual sanctions are not made public.
Many Nigerians see disclosure of names of politicians under travel or other restrictions as the best way to deter would-be instigators of violence at the polls.