© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
2015 Elections: Us President Barak Obama Writes Nigerians
International interest in the conduct of the coming general elections in Nigeria remains sustained as the United States President, Barack Obama, on Monday wrote a special letter to Nigerians, canvassing for credible and peaceful elections.
President Obama, who began the letter to the people of Nigeria with an informal “Hello”, recalled how Nigerians earned their independence from colonialists, how the nation emerged victorious after the struggle against military dictatorship and how the people have turned the country’s diversity into a source of strength.
“Nigeria is a great nation and you can be proud of the progress you’ve made. Together, you won your independence, emerged from military rule, and strengthened democratic institutions. You’ve strived to overcome division and to turn Nigeria’s diversity into a source of strength. You’ve worked hard to improve the lives of your families and to build the largest economy in Africa,” he wrote.
The US president observed that Nigerian have a historic opportunity to help write the next chapter of Nigeria’s progress—by voting in the upcoming elections.
“For elections to be credible, they must be free, fair and peaceful. All Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” Obama stated, while calling on the people “to peacefully express your views and to reject the voices of those who call for violence.”
He also called on all political leaders and candidates in the polls to make it clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections and that they will not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence before, during, or after the votes are counted.
“Successful elections and democratic progress will help Nigeria meet the urgent challenges you face today. Boko Haram—a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children—must be stopped.
“Hundreds of kidnapped children deserve to be returned to their families. Nigerians who have been forced to flee deserve to return to their homes. Boko Haram wants to destroy Nigeria and all that you have worked to build. By casting your ballot, you can help secure your nation’s progress,” the American President further stated.
Reminding Nigerians that the work of peace keeping and nation-building is that of every citizen, President Obama said: “I’m told that there is a saying in your country: “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”. Today, I urge all Nigerians—from all religions, all ethnic groups, and all regions—to come together and keep Nigeria one”.
He assured Nigerians that the United States would remain a friend and partner in “this task of advancing the security, prosperity, and human rights of all Nigerians”.