United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had assured president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Nigeria will get a good and mutually-beneficial relationship with America.
Blinken stated this during a telephone conversation with the president-elect on Tuesday evening.
A statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, noted that the telephone discussion, which was frank and friendly, was initiated by the US diplomat.
Blinken promised to play his part in ensuring and sustaining a cordial relationship between the two nations, saying a democratic and peaceful Nigeria is important to the United States as it is to Africa.
On his part, Tinubu promised to hit the ground running and unify the country upon his assumption of office on May 29.
He pledged to work to ensure continued positive relations with the United States.
The president-elect said his immediate priorities would be to deliver institutional reforms and development programs to deepen our democratic institutions and bring help to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
He also expressed his determination to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and faithfully serve the people as their president.
During the phone talk that lasted about 20 minutes, Tinubu recalled being granted asylum by the US when he was forced on exile during his struggle for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.
Reaffirming his democratic bona fides, the president-elect expressed his absolute belief that the result of the elections, which he clearly won, reflected the will of the Nigerian people.
He urged the US to factor in Nigeria’s important place in Africa and provide needed assistance in the areas of security and economic investment in order for the nation to lead the way and be a shining example to the rest of the continent.
“Both President-elect Tinubu and Secretary Blinken ended their discussion with pleasant greetings and a promise to keep the channels of dialogue and communication open, whilst maintaining a strong relationship between the two nations,” Rahman stated.
Meanwhile, former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in 2023, Atiku Abubakar has said the call by United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to President-elect Bola Tinubu contradicts the position of the United States government on the 2023 general election.
Atiku who said he is in disbelief over the call, added that to give legitimacy to the election which according to him was widely acknowledged as fraudulent election is 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 said it is inconceivable that such an interface between Blinken and Tinubu took place since the US was well briefed on the sham election of February 25.
A press statement from the US Department of State early yesterday disclosed that Blinken spoke with Tinubu emphasising continued commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship.
The statement read, “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,” the State Department statement said.
On Monday, however, Blinken, on his twitter handle disclosed that visa restrictions have 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.”
Reacting however to the Blinken’s call to Tinubu, Atiku, in a tweet 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 challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PETP).