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America, Britain Warn Nigerian Officials Against Manipulating Presidential Results



by Musa Abdullahi & Agency Reports

The American and British Governments have issued a stern warning to Nigerian authorities, asking them to jettison any attempt to distort the outcomes of Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections.

The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry and U.K. Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, in a joint statement on Monday commended Nigerians on the peaceful conduct of last Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections and urged for continued steadfastness as they await the announcement of the final result.

But the representatives of the two country also warned against deliberate political interference to undermine the integrity of the final result.
“Our governments welcome the largely peaceful vote on March 28,” the two officials said in a joint statement.

“The Nigerian people have shown a commendable determination to register their vote and choose their leaders,” they added.

According to the two officials, till the end of the voting process, their monitors did not see any evidence of systemic manipulation of the process.
“But there are disturbing indications that the collation process—where the votes are finally counted—may be subject to deliberate political interference” they noted.

“This would contravene the letter and spirit of the Abuja Accord, to which both major parties committed themselves.

“The Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom would be very concerned by any attempts to undermine the independence of the Electoral Commission (INEC), or its Chairman, Professor Jega; or in any way distort the expressed will of the Nigerian people.”

There have been concerns across the country that the Nigerian authorities are plotting to manipulate the results of the election to swing victory in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Femi Fani-Kayode, the spokesperson for Mr. Jonathan, has continued to insist that his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, is ahead in the vote tally for the election even when counting and official release of results are yet to be completed.

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