Former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has said the phone call by the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to President-elect, Bola Tinubu, contradicted the position of the United States government on Nigeria’s 2023 general election.
Atiku, who said he was in disbelief over the phone call, added that to give legitimacy to the election, which according to him, was widely acknowledged as fraudulent was demoralising to citizens who have hedged their bet on democracy and the sanctity of the ballot.
Describing the US as the bastion of democracy, the former vice president of Nigeria said it was inconceivable that such an interface between Blinken and Tinubu took place since the US was well briefed on the sham presidential election of February 25.
A press statement from the US State Department early Wednesday disclosed that Blinken spoke with Tinubu, emphasising continued commitment to strengthening the US-Nigeria relationship.
The statement reads: “The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke this morning with Nigerian President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to emphasize his continued commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration.
“The Secretary noted that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect Tinubu’s tenure. Secretary Blinken and President-elect Tinubu discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”
Earlier on Monday, however, Blinken, on his Twitter handle disclosed that visa restrictions had been slammed on specific individuals for undermining the 2023 polls.
He said, “We have imposed visa restrictions on specific individuals who undermined the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections. We remain committed to supporting Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and rule of law.”
But, reacting to the Blinken’s phone call to Tinubu, Atiku, via his Tweet handle on Wednesday said, “I am in disbelief that @SecBlinken called Tinubu, a contradiction to the publicly stated position of the US on Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election. This is inconceivable considering that America, as the bastion of democracy, is well briefed on the sham election of February 25.
“To give legitimacy to the widely acknowledged fraudulent election in Nigeria can be demoralising to citizens who have hedged their bet on democracy and the sanctity of the ballot @StateDept @POTUS @USinNigeria. -AA.”
Atiku and PDP are currently challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja.