By Temitope Owotoki
Christopher Smith, a United States congressman, Chris Smith has written President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to ensure that the 2019 elections do no fall below the 2015 benchmark.
The ranking Republican member of the House sub-committee on Africa was the chairman of the sub-committee until the recent takeover of the House by the Democratic Party
Smith, in a letter entitled, ‘On the Postponement of Elections in Nigeria,’ to Buhari, blamed the postponement on him and those around him.
“Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him. Actions in advance of the election — including removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen and arson attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission offices in opposition strongholds — are undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair.
“At a minimum, the presidential election must meet the 2015 standard, which saw a peaceful transfer of power and a statement by the then-sitting president that all bloodshed must be avoided.
“In addition to being sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is its biggest economy, and what happens in Nigeria has ramifications beyond its borders,” Smith said. Writing further, he stated that “Given the magnitude of global problems Secretary Pompeo must contend with, he should consider appointing a Special Envoy for Nigeria vested with full authority.
“The State Department must use all tools at its disposal, including visa denial and sanctioning authority, to hold accountable those who undermine democracy and foment sectarian and ethnic violence,” Smith added. \lsdlocked0 L