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You can’t afford to fail, Obama tells Jonathan

United States President Barack Obama has warned the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to avoid rigging and violence during the forthcoming general election in Nigeria.

Speaking through Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the United States Assistant Secretary on African Affairs, in Washington DC, President Obama urged Nigerians to demonstrate their ability to hold fair and democratic elections as the country prepares for legislative, presidential and state balloting scheduled for April 2, April 9 and April 16 respectively.

Saying it is “absolutely essential” that Nigeria holds better elections in 2011 than it held in 2007, the diplomat noted that the 2007 elections “were deeply flawed and, in fact, were poorly administered and poorly run.

“The 2007 elections in no way reflected the ability and the capacity of Nigeria to organise and run successful elections. In 2011, the Obama administration wants to see Nigeria reverse its ‘trajectory of bad elections’ and substantially improve its election management and processes,” he said.

Carson warned that a flawed electoral process will lead to a loss of confidence by Nigerians in their leaders, their country’s governing institutions and democracy itself, stressing that this an opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its capacity to both manage and hold democratic elections, which are the desire of the people.

Although the level of violence in the run-up to the elections is not as serious as it was in 2007, Carson said the violence already perpetrated has been “too much.”


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