Election: Don’t Obey Illegal Directives Issued In Buhari’s Name – U.S. Cautions

The United States has again warned Nigerian political leaders of
severe sanctions if their comments incite the people to violence that
disrupts the smooth conduct of the general election.

The U.S.
ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, also warned public officials
not to be deceived by politicians who may issue illegal directives to
them using the name of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Symington
gave the warning on Thursday in Makurdi, Benue State. He was speaking
with journalists after his meeting with the state governor, Samuel
Ortom.

According to a report of the encounter monitored on
Channels TV, Mr Symington cautioned against taking implementing illegal
directives to manipulate the elections.

He said political leaders have a responsibility to ensure that the elections this year are free and fair

“If
anybody asks you to do something that is not right and says the boss
wants you to do it, or the person at the top wants you to do it, don’t
believe him; because the person at the top is honestly saying they want
to win a fair election. There is a reason not to believe them,” the
envoy said.

Although Mr Symington did not mention President
Muhammadu Buhari by name, the president has repeatedly expressed his
commitment to free and fair elections. He, like other top presidential
candidates, also signed a peace accord, pledging his commitment to
peaceful and non-violent conduct irrespective of the outcome of the
elections.

On Thursday, Mr Symington advised Nigerians not to
believe those who may want to compromise the electoral process. He
warned that people are responsible for their own actions.

“The
citizens are responsible to their God, second to their conscience and
third to the laws of Nigeria, fourth to the court of public opinion in
Nigeria and finally international law and the rest of us,” he said.

He
said in the few days to the election, people will say things
irrespective of their intentions, “either to hate or to stir up
violence”.

He warned that such people would be held to account.

Mr
Symington spoke two days after a statement by Kaduna State governor,
Nasir El-Rufai, that any military intervention in Nigeria would be
resisted.

The statement made by the governor on a national
television programme ignited an outcry, with the opposition Peoples
Democratic Party warning it may withdraw from the peace accord the
political parties signed to promote violence-free elections.

On
Wednesday, the European Union election observers reacted to Mr
El-Rufai’s remarks by stating that they were in Nigeria on the
invitation to monitor the processes of the election and not to interfere
in the affairs of the country.

Earlier last month, the US and
its western allies, the United Kingdom and the European Union, gave a
similar caution following the furore that greeted President Muhammadu
Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Source:- Premiumtimesng