United States congressman, Chris Smith has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the conduct of the 2019 general elections does not fall short of the 2015 benchmark, Vanguard reports.
The congressman in a letter to President Buhari titled “On the Postponement of Elections in Nigeria,” blamed the president for the postponement of the elections.
“Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him,” Chris Smith wrote in the letter.
He said some of the actions of the president in the days leading to the commencement of the elections cast doubts on its chances of it being free and fair.
“Actions in advance of the election — including removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen and arson attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission offices in opposition strongholds — are undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair.
“At a minimum, the presidential election must meet the 2015 standard, which saw a peaceful transfer of power and a statement by the then-sitting president that all bloodshed must be avoided.
“In addition to being sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is its biggest economy, and what happens in Nigeria has ramifications beyond its borders.
“Given the magnitude of global problems Secretary Pompeo must contend with, he should consider appointing a Special Envoy for Nigeria vested with full authority.
“The State Department must use all tools at its disposal, including visa denial and sanctioning authority, to hold accountable those who undermine democracy and foment sectarian and ethnic violence.”
Chris Smith was the former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa until the recent takeover of the House by the Democratic Party.