The governments of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) have backed statements made by various international observers such as the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) observation team, which called on Nigerians to be patient following the postponement of the 2019 general elections.
Backstory: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in the early hours of Saturday announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for the same day, to public disapproval.
Briefing various international observers and stakeholders, the commission had cited logistical and operational challenges as the reasons behind the shift in date.
Reaction from the UK: British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, in her statement on Saturday, urged Nigerians to exercise patience and work with the new dates provided by INEC.
“The British High Commission supports the joint statement made by the heads of the international observer missions on the postponement of the 2019 Nigerian elections. We recognize the frustrations of many Nigerians, including those involved in the delivery, supervision and observation of the election and those who traveled considerable distances to exercise their democratic right to vote. We urge the Nigerian people to come out to vote next weekend in the re-scheduled elections”, the statement read.
Reaction from the US: The US Embassy in Nigeria stated that it fully supports the decision from the head of ECOWAS and other international missions on the shift in election dates, encouraging Nigerians to support the electoral body in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
“US Embassy fully supports the joint statement by the heads of the ECOWAS and other international election observation missions on the postponement of the Feb.16 Nigerian elections. We join in encouraging all Nigerians to ensure a free, fair, peaceful, and credible election by supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission while it finalizes electoral preparations this week and by voting in peace together on February 23.”