The President Donald Trump led government of the United States of America has disclosed that Nigeria’s 2019 general elections and a peaceful transition remain its major priority in view of the country’s strategic position in the West African sub-region.
The U.S Secretary of state, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who said this ahead of his coming visit to Africa, said Nigeria’s 2019 general election is a major priority for the U.S because the country would be the “third most populous country in the world by 2050”.
The U.S Secretary of state, Mr. Rex Tillerson
He is expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government functionaries, and also leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his travels from March 6 to 13.
Tillerson also lauded the progress Africa, as a continent, has made with democracy. He pointed out that there are still challenges but noted that the election of Mr. George Weah in Liberia is encouraging.
The department said over two decades ago, the number of countries in Africa with really democratically elected government were really very few – only three or four.
He said: “Now we had over two dozens 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 20 elections, obviously Nigeria, though 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.”
“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.”
“How do we advance political and economic reform that will help in the transition process? Those are issues too that we’re working in Zimbabwe with the transition between Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
“And also, we’re looking hopefully at South Africa with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa from Jacob Zuma and seeing how that’s going to transition.”