- Hopes INEC runs another smooth and transparent election
By Deba Uwadiae
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who was part of the United States international observers to the 2022 Osun State Governorship election in Nigeria has called for a peaceful election as the country elects a new president on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
“My hope is that they have, first of all a peaceful election. But second, that the voice of the Nigerian people can be heard loud and clear.” Secretary Frank LaRose told New Americans magazine.
“Whatever that voice is, whoever the Nigerian people choose, will be respected and that the new president can take off as promptly.”
Secretary LaRose and members of the US delegation during their visit to Nigeria in 2022 met with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, three of the presidential candidates in the Saturday elections, including Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
LaRose said, “Nigeria has made progress,” adding “to be clear, Nigerian elections are not perfect, no election is perfect. There has been some backsliding in certain areas that are concerning intimidation of voters, is still a problem in certain regions of the of the country.
“Those were the concerns that we had, and I’ll be watching very closely as Nigeria conducts its election, of course, the largest democracy in Africa, one of the largest democracies in the world.”
He described democracy as “something almost like a faith. You believe in it. You believe that the people have the right to choose who their leaders are. Of course, if there are problems with the way the election is conducted, if there are concerns, it’s okay to raise those concerns. It’s okay to talk about that and how those problems should be addressed.”
LaRose advised that “when a result is announced, and when that result is clear, then the winner should accept that and so should the losers.”
“As Ohio’s chief elections officer, I always tell my team, that we run our elections so well, that even the loser knows they lost. And of course, that’s how elections should work. If you do it well. If you do it transparently, if you do it fairly, then when those results are announced, the loser or losers will concede, and the winner will take office.
“My hope is that INEC is able to run another election in such a smooth and transparent way that it is clear who has won and who has lost and that the losers concede and that the winner takes office. And that’s the simple hope that I have for the Nigerian people.”
Meanwhile, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has assured Ohioans of free State Identification, if they do not have one, to enable them to vote in the 2023 elections.
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