The public affairs officer at the United States Consulate in Lagos, Russell Brooks, has described as a mischaracterisation, former president Goodluck Jonathan’s account in his new book of the role the U.S. government played, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Mr Brooks spoke during a live chat on Facebook in Lagos, on Tuesday.
In his book, My Transition Hours, Mr Jonathan had accused former U.S. president, Barack Obama, of displaying an unusual level of bias ahead of Nigeria’s presidential election in 2015, releasing a video appeal to Nigerians in which he subtly asked them to vote a particular candidate.
“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”
But Mr Brooks said the claim in the book was a mischaracterisation about what Mr Obama or his administration did in Nigeria.
“The mischaracterisation here refers to not comprehending why we felt it was important for Nigeria to have a peaceful, free and fair election in 2015,” he said.
“And thereby people may not understand why we placed so much importance of having a peaceful, free and fair and transparent election in 2019.
“In the past, Nigeria’s elections had been beset by violence; there have been questions about the fairness of those elections. And we certainly believe that Nigeria can do better. In 2015, Nigeria did do better.
“There may have been some difficulties as they often times occur in elections whether here in Nigeria or in the United States. But Nigeria did do better and we believe Nigeria will continue to make progress.”
Mr Brooks said the U.S. government would continue to support Nigeria’s progress through offering assistance to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the civil societies, and the media.
“All these show how important we believe it is for Nigeria to have an election process that can be credible and stand against any election anywhere in the world.”
Ahead of the 2019 elections, Mr Brooks said the U.S. government has no favourite candidate, adding that they are more focused on a free and transparent process.
“We don’t favour candidates,” he said.
“Our candidate is the process. The process should be free and fair. The process should be transparent.”