The United States of America has expressed worry over reports of deteriorating political climate in Edo State and interference by security forces in political matters.
The US Mission In Nigeria said this ahead of the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election in the state, which has led to a sharp rise in political tension in the oil rich state.
In the statement on its Twitter handle, which name was recently changed from USEmbassyAbuja to USinNigeria “to more accurately represent the entire United States presence in Nigeria and its engagement with the Nigerian people”, the US called for free, fair and credible elections, where the will of Nigerians would be reflected in results.
The statement, titled: “U.S. Embassy Statement on 2020 Off-Cycle Elections in Edo and Ondo States,” admonished the Independent National Electoral Commission to remain an unbiased umpire during the governorship elections in both Edo and Ondo States, with that of the South West state holding on October 10, 2020.
The statement said: “As long-time friends of Nigeria, we continue to follow political developments ahead of off-cycle elections in the country.
“The United States supports a democratic process where the will of the Nigerian people is reflected in the results, and does not favour any party or candidate.
“We are concerned with reports of the deteriorating political climate in Edo State and are disappointed with the role played by some political actors in the state.
“We are especially concerned with allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run up to gubernatorial elections in the state in September.
“As we approach the 2020 off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo, we urge all stakeholders to work towards a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful process.
“We encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to continue to improve the electoral process.
“We look to Nigeria as an important leader on the African continent. As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”