Nigeria polls most significant in democracy: US
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – STEVEN Feldstein, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights, hailed the general elections Nigeria held earlier this year as the most important achievement in democracy in the continent in 2015.
In an update on human rights and democracy trends in Africa, he admitted his fear for the worst ahead of the March 29 poll but such fears of upheaval were allayed there was smooth transfer of power.
“Perhaps the most significant achievement this year was historic elections in Nigeria –Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy. For the first time, an opposition party won the Presidency in generally clean and transparent elections,” Feldstein said.
He said widespread violence did not break out, as they feared.
Feldsten said where there were instances of electoral violence or allegations of fraud, they expected Nigerian authorities to continue investigations and take appropriate measures.
He pointed out a strong election observation effort provided real-time verification of results and ensured election authorities would be more accountable than in the past.
Feldsten said the Independent National Electoral Commission’s efforts to increase transparency and curb irregularities through live announcements of voting results on radio, television and social media, prevented
wide-scale fraud and disenfranchisement.
“And when the commission declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the presidential election, rather than fight the result, the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan gracefully congratulated his opponent and bowed out,” said Buhari.
It was the first time since the advent of democracy in 1999 that an opposition party was elected into power.
– CAJ News
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