As Nigeria moves closer to its 2023 general election, the United States has said it is counting on the country to act as role model of democracy to its African counterparts by conducting a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people.
The U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris, stated this during her engagement with Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the White House on Friday.
Osinbajo had led Nigeria’s Energy Transition Implementation Working Group (ETWG) to Washington DC to seek the country’s partnerships and support for Nigeria’s recently inaugurated Energy Transition Plan.
THE WHISTLER reports that the Osinbajo-led ETWG had developed the homegrown and data-backed plan to guide the country’s efforts to attain its 2060 net-zero emissions goal.
The meeting also offered both leaders the opportunity to discuss other shared concerns as it pertains to the global food crisis and Nigeria’s 2023 elections, among others.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s efforts at helping to tackle what she called “democratic backsliding” in West Africa, Harris said the U.S. feels “very strongly” about the need for the country to continue to serve as an example to its African counterparts.
Harris spoke against the backdrop of recent military takeovers and coup attempts in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Sudan.
She emphasized the need for Nigeria to continue to uphold the rules-based international order which among other things advances democratic values and human rights.
The order also involves a set of rules that encourage peaceful, predictable, and cooperative behavior among states while placing limits on the use of military force.
Quoting Harris, “Nigeria has also been an important partner in upholding the international rules-based order, whether it is tackling the democratic backsliding that we’ve been seeing in West Africa or standing up for Ukraine at the United Nations.
“The United States remains committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February — elections which we have confidence will be peaceful and reflect the will of the people.
“And, of course, we do feel very strongly, as I know you do, that Nigeria is and must remain a bastion of democracy for West Africa.
“More broadly, Africa’s leadership is key to confronting all of the global challenges we face. And to that end, Nigeria is key.
“So we look forward to strengthening our partnership. I bring you greetings from President Joe Biden. I was just with him. And he and I remain committed to strengthening our relationship with Nigeria and with Africa as a continent as a whole. And we also look forward to hosting you in December at the summit here in Washington,” a statement shared on the website of the White House quoted the U.S. VP as having said.
Responding, Osinbajo thanked the U.S. for its longstanding partnership with Nigeria and its support especially in the areas of economic and social developments.
“We also most appreciate the firm support that we’ve received from the U.S., especially in our fight against terrorism within our borders and in the Sahel, and, of course, the very timely donation of vaccines — 4 million vaccines — as we battled the COVID-19 pandemic. And that, of course, was extremely useful.
“But in addition to, as you pointed out, our shared commitment to democracy and the international rules-based system — we very strongly believe that, you know, in the coming years we will need to work together again on so many global challenges. They are as varied and as — and they come up very frequently now — from promoting peace and security to tackling global health issues and climate change and, of course, economic adversity.
“And I think, in particular, it’s historic, especially for those of us who are paying attention to all the issues on climate change. The climate change component is really ambitious. And we think that it shows U.S. leadership in this — in the era of climate change. And we’re all excited to queue up behind the U.S. and see that we get many of these objectives on the way.
On our part, and you pointed this out already, the Nigerian government launched our Energy Transition Plan just last week. And this plan is important for us because, for us, we see energy, especially the climate crisis, as two existential issues: one, of course, the crises; the second is the energy poverty and the energy crisis for us in our part of the world.
“So, while we look forward to the 2060 carbon neutrality goal, we are also hoping that within that period — even within a shorter period — we’re actually looking at 2030 — we’ll deal with issues of energy poverty. And so, we’re anxious to get all the support we can. And in the last few days, I’ve been talking to quite a few of the agencies here — the World Bank; USAID; in fact, the Treasury Secretary yesterday also. And they’ve all been very positive, you know, and shown indications that they will be very helpful indeed.
“So I think that we look forward to, in the coming years and months, to even greater collaboration and stronger ties between our countries to create a fairer, more prosperous, and perhaps a greener, also, and freer nation — and nations and the world. You know?
“Thank you very much, again, for hosting me. And this is a great honor indeed. Thank you.”