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    USA not paying enough attention to Nigeria’s 2019 elections—Ex-CIA chief

    USA not paying enough attention to Nigeria’s 2019 elections—Ex-CIA chief

    Former Central Intelligence Agency, CIA’s senior political analyst on sub-Saharan Africa, Judd Devermont, has expressed concern that the US government and the international community were not paying enough attention to Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election.

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    According to him, “what happens in Nigeria matters to the United States and the international community. The U.S. and international stakeholders need to step up their game.

    “At the minimum, there is a proven playbook to draw on. During the last election in 2015 for instance, U.S. government and other stakeholders feared a repeat of the violence and ballot-rigging that tainted elections in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

    “Secretary Kerry travelled to Nigeria, and President Obama issued a video message calling for free, fair and peaceful elections. U.S. officials went as far as threatening visa bans.

    “These efforts contributed to the first democratic transition between one party and another in Nigerian history,” Devermont said in a commentary published by the U.S Centre for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS.

    Devermont, who is currently the director of Africa Programme at CSIS in Washington, D.C., said the international community should replicate these measures, as well as employ new tactics and broaden its engagements.

    He added:

     “Nigeria’s last election, after all, was historic not only because an incumbent was defeated. It was a breakthrough because citizens insisted their votes should count.

    “In a world where democracy is in recession, Nigerian commitment to democratic values makes this an election worth paying attention to.

    “Nigeria’s democracy and its overall trajectory is far from secure. Indeed, recent governorship elections underscore Nigeria’s fragility as a democracy.

    “The U.S. Institute of Peace has identified several states susceptible to election violence, including in the oil-rich Niger Delta.”

    On recent elections in the country, Devermont, said:

     “Nigeria’s political parties are exhibiting alarming, anti-democratic behaviour. 

    For instance, during the Ekiti governorship election in July, party operatives engaged in blatant vote-buying, which the U.K. High Commissioner condemned as ‘just as bad as ballot stuffing’.

    “During the Osun governorship election in September, the ruling party deployed 40,000 policemen to the polls, a manoeuvre widely viewed as disproportionate and designed to harass opposition voters.”

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