The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has asked Nigerians to exercise their franchise during the coming general elections and ensure that their votes count.
Symington, in a broadcast published on the official Twitter handle of the US on Tuesday, insisted that the elections must be free, fair and credible.
While urging a level-playing field for candidates of political parties, he said Nigerians must know their rights and make an impact by voting.
He appealed to people in the country not to allow themselves to be influenced by anyone during the elections.
He said, “The elections are a remarkable opportunity for all Nigerians to come together and for every citizen to express their will. What the United States hopes to see in your elections in this year 2019 are elections that are free, fair, credible and above all transparent. In this process, I know one thing: it is absolutely important for the citizens of Nigeria to personally take part, beginning right now by knowing what your rights are. On election day, you won’t have an effect unless you vote. It’s important that you work together to make sure that your votes are counted.
“As we get ready for your elections, one of the most important things is that there is level-playing field, meaning that no officials, no security forces, no electoral officials, no politicians seek to influence you in a way that is not consistent with Nigerian law.
“Elections are only one part of the democratic process. The words and the actions that happen in these final days and all the work of government afterwards, are as important to democracy as the elections themselves.
“So, in a nutshell, know your rights. Two, Vote and exercise them. Three, if you work for the government or for a party, make sure you remember that it is your individual responsibility to act consistently with the laws.
“And remember that elections are only one part of democracy. And on this level-playing field, it is incredibly important that there has to be a path for the future for every Nigerian. Whatever your faith or language or where you come from, finding your path forward together is the heart of democracy; it’s the heart of freedom. It’s the hope for free enterprise and free people. And it’s Nigeria’s future.”
He said he hopes that the 2019 elections are better than the last elections.