Ekiti, Osun polls critical for 2015, says U.S. envoy
THE United States Consular-General in Nigeria, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins, has said the Ekiti and Osun states elections are critical to the success of the 2015 elections.
Hawkins, who spoke with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, urged the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure hitch-free polls.
He condemned the killing of pupils in Yobe and others in the North by the Boko Haram sect, adding that the sect’s activities “may mar the conduct of the 2015 elections, if not checkmated.”
Hawkins said the United .States government gave 15 million dollars to the Nigeria to strengthen the electoral process.
He hoped the 2015 elections would be credible.
Hawkins said free, fair and transparent elections were sine qua non to the attainment of genuine democracy and warned politicians against violence as the June 21 election in Ekiti State approaches.
He said the latest deployment of military forces to quell the insurgents was normal, adding that terrorism must be confronted with every force of the state.
The consular-general said: “As a parent, I cannot imagine that pupils could be killed in that manner. The US has listed Boko Haram as a terrorist group and we are not folding our arms. We are working not only with the government, but with civil society organisations on the need to sensitise the people and rid the country of terrorists.
“Nigeria is a great country and it is strategic on the African continent. We are not only providing fund to help the country, but we are going to help in the technical aspects for the 2015 elections to be a success.
“We have a strong relationship with the Prof. Jega-led INEC. We do not only have a diplomatic relationship with the Nigeria; we are also partnering in good governance and good electoral system.”
Hawkins said the U.S. was ready to commit more to ensure the success of the 2015 polls, adding that Jega would not want a repeat of the Anambra and Edo states’ mistakes.
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