President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday that the continued pressure on the immediate past administration by the United States and some European countries made the general elections in Nigeria to be free and fair.
The President said this while responding to the welcome remarks by President Barack Obama before the start of the bilateral meeting between officials of both countries at the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC on the second day of the visit.
President Buhari, who noted that without the external pressure, “we would not be where we are today” in Nigeria, recalled that the pressure started from the visit of the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry to the past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“Nigeria will be ever grateful to President Obama and the United States for making Nigeria consolidate its gains on democracy,” the President said.
On his trip to the United States, the President said he looked forward to a fruitful visit and engagement with his host government, while expressing delight that the United States government had indicated interest in partnering and helping the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to bring to fruition its goals of tackling insecurity, corruption and youth unemployment.
In his welcome remarks, President Obama said President Buhari came into office with a reputation of integrity and a clear agenda and preparedness to bringing peace to Nigeria, curtailing Boko Haram insurgency and rooting out corruption. “On both issues of tackling insurgency and corruption in Nigeria, we look forward to how the United States can partner Nigeria to become an outstanding role model for developing countries,” President Obama said.
While describing Nigeria as a one of the most important countries in Africa, he also commended the peaceful election and transition that brought President Buhari to power.
While also lauding Nigeria’s track record in tackling Ebola and polio, President Obama also said the United States looked forward to engaging Nigeria in improving its electricity challenges.
The governors of Edo, Oyo, Imo, Borno and Nasarawa states and other top Nigerian government officials joined Presidents Buhari and Obama for the bilateral talks.
Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)
July 20, 2015.