May 29 Handover Date Sacrosanct, Jonathan Tells US

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President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday assured
all stakeholders including the United States of
America that the May 29 handover date was

He gave the assurance amidst calls by some
individuals including the National Security
Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), for the
postponement of the February general elections.
According to a statement released by his Special
Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati,
the President gave the assurance during a
closed-door meeting he had with the United
States Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, at the
State House, Marina.

The statement was signed personally by the
He said he had what he called “a candid and
constructive discussion” about a broad range of
issues with his guest.

He said he emphasised to Kerry that he was
deeply committed to ensuring that the elections
were free, fair and credible.

He added that he also promised his guest that
his government would provide all resources
required by the Independent National Electoral
Commission to conduct hitch-free elections.

Jonathan said, “I emphasised to Secretary Kerry
that I am deeply committed to ensuring that our
forthcoming election is free, fair, and credible.
“It is especially critical that all political parties
abide by the Abuja Accord, which commits each
to non-violence before, during, and after the

“I made it absolutely clear that the May 29th
handover date is sacrosanct.
“In addition, the government will provide all
resources that are required by the Independent
National Electoral Commission to ensure that the
election goes smoothly.

“I also emphasised that INEC is an independent
body, which makes its own decisions without any
interference from the government.”

The President said he was grateful to the US for
standing with Nigeria and its people in the
nation’s fight against Boko Haram.

He said he reaffirmed his administration’s
commitment to working together with the US to
put an end to global terrorism and particularly
Boko Haram.

He promised that Nigeria would also work to
deepen and consolidate its bilateral relationship
with the US.

The President described Nigeria as a vibrant
democracy and the largest trading partner of the
US in Africa with over $18bn in bilateral trade.
He noted that the two countries and peoples
shared a mutual admiration for one another and
a deep commitment to freedom, democracy, and
human rights.

This, he explained, was why the two countries
were jointly engaged in a struggle against “a
common enemy that promotes terror, fear,
division, and violates human rights, most
especially of women and girls, with complete

The President added, “Winning the fight against
Boko Haram in Nigeria and West Africa is
absolutely essential to beat back the tide of
religious extremism around the world.

“Our security forces have been working tirelessly
and courageously to achieve this goal.

“I reaffirmed for Secretary Kerry that Nigeria is
strongly committed to building the multinational
task force to fight Boko Haram in partnership
with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin Republic
under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin

“Indeed, I called publicly for such a regional
approach at the African leaders’ summit in Paris
in May 2014 and more recently in multilateral

“We are pleased that the international community
is now strongly united behind this initiative and
agree that its success is critical.

“It is equally important that the multinational
force receives the significant support that is
required to address the threat through our global

“The United States, more than any other country
in the world, has the most experience fighting
armed insurgencies.

“And having suffered the devastating attacks of
9/11, its people also understand the insecurity
and fear that is the reality for the vast majority
of peaceful, tolerant Muslims and Christians in
north eastern Nigeria.”

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