The United States of Amseerica has said Nigeria’s 2019 general elections and a peaceful transition are major priority, in view of the country’s strategic position in the region.
The US Department of State said this during a background briefing on the first trip of the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to Africa.
Tillerson would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government officials and also, leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his travels from Tuesday, March 6 to 13.
The department said over two decades ago, the number of countries in Africa with really democratically-elected government are really very few – only three or four. It said, however, now we have over two dozen African countries with democratically elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup d’etats and other illegal methods.
“As we look at the 2019 elections, obviously Nigeria, although it’s not this year – it’s going to be next year – that really is a major priority focus, because that’s going to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050.
“It has really very complex political issues and ethnic and tribal issues and security issues,
“And, that’s an area that we really are focusing on; how to do a peaceful transition, a democratic transition, but more important is how to hold governments accountable to the people,” the state department said.
The department also explained that a lot of African countries are still fragile democracies and the US is trying to strengthen them.
The U.S. also commended elections in Liberia, saying it was the first open, fair and peaceful transition of governments in over 75 years.
The department of state, however, regretted what it called the “horrendous rule of Charles Taylor and the degradation of the institutions there, but now, we’ll going back and they’re building and I think with the election of George Weah, that’s going to be a positive thing.”