December 1, 2022

United States says Nigeria must remain ‘bastion of democracy for West Africa’ ahead of February presidential election

Atiku, Tinubu, Obi
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The United States Vice President Kamala D. Harris received Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on September 2, and asserted that Nigeria must remain a bastion of democracy for West Africa ahead of February presidential election.

“The United States remains committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February — elections which we have confidence will be peaceful and reflect the will of the people. And, of course, we do feel very strongly, as I know you do, that Nigeria is and must remain a bastion of democracy for West Africa,” she said in remarks ahead of their bilateral meeting.

Receiving Osinbajo in Washington D.C. to discuss “many important matters that face Nigeria and the United States,” Harris described ties between the United States and Nigeria as strong.

 “As I was explaining to the Vice President, there are hundreds of thousands of Nigerian Americans and Nigerians here in the United States, and so many who have made significant contributions to the United States, be it as entrepreneurs, as innovators, to film and music. And Nigeria, without any question, is leading on so many important issues and some of the most important issues of our time,” she said.

Harris also congratulated Osinbajo for Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, which pledges carbon-neutral energy by 2060.  “Ambitious goals, but important goals.  And under your leadership, I have no question that they will be achieved,” Harris said.

“Today, we will also discuss the urgent issue that affects the continent of Africa and the world, which is the issue of food insecurity.  As you know, the United States has committed $7 billion in food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries over the past year alone. Nigeria has also been an important partner in upholding the international rules-based order, whether it is tackling the democratic backsliding that we’ve been seeing in West Africa or standing up for Ukraine at the United Nations. More broadly, Africa’s leadership is key to confronting all of the global challenges we face.  And to that end, Nigeria is key,” Harris said.

She added, “We look forward to strengthening our partnership.  I bring you greetings from President Joe Biden.  I was just with him.  And he and I remain committed to strengthening our relationship with Nigeria and with Africa as a continent as a whole.  And we also look forward to hosting you in December at the summit here in Washington.”

In a readout of their meeting, the White House said that Harris and Osinbajo recognized the strong cultural ties between the American and Nigerian people, noting the remarkable vibrancy of the Nigerian diaspora.

The White House wrote that Vice President Harris affirmed the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Nigeria. 

It said, “Vice President Harris underscored the importance of Nigerian leadership to tackle shared global challenges.  Vice President Harris reiterated the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to address the global food crisis, noting that the United States has committed more than $7 billion in food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries since last October. 

“Vice President Harris welcomed Vice President Osinbajo’s commitment to free and fair elections in 2023 and emphasized that next year’s vote would be an important milestone for Nigeria’s democracy, the largest in Africa.  She noted strong U.S. support for a credible, transparent, secure, and safe electoral process, including by advancing our longstanding partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission and Nigerian civil society with $25 million in elections support. Vice President Harris informed Vice President Osinbajo that the Biden-Harris Administration will provide an additional $2 million to help support a safer and more secure elections environment. She also thanked Vice President Osinbajo for Nigeria’s leadership in working to reverse recent democratic backsliding in West Africa. 

“Vice President Harris welcomed the Government of Nigeria’s recent launch of its Energy Transition Plan and applauded Vice President Osinbajo’s leadership for just energy transitions in Africa.  In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, the two leaders committed to working closely to support Nigeria’s energy access and energy security goals, as well as our shared global climate goals. 

“The Vice Presidents also discussed Nigeria’s complex security challenges and affirmed our cooperation to counter terrorism.  Vice President Harris noted the importance of strengthening public trust in law enforcement institutions and highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to support police reform. To that end, she informed Vice President Osinbajo that the Biden-Harris Administration will commit an additional $5 million to support police and criminal justice reform in Nigeria. The two leaders also discussed the deteriorating security environment in the Sahel and agreed to continue to work together to address terrorism in the region. 

“In support of the United States’ strong bilateral relationship with Nigeria, Vice President Harris shared that the Administration intends to commit up to $627 million in bilateral assistance over the coming year, subject to congressional approval. 

“Vice President Harris noted that she and President Biden look forward to welcoming Nigeria’s delegation to the December U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC.”

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