With less than 24 hours to the much awaited governorship Ondo State governorship election, the United States has once more reiterated its commitment to a free, fair and credible election come this Saturday, October 10, 2020.
As part of its commitment to end electoral violence in Nigeria and Africa at large, the US , just as it did in the Edo governorship election which held on September 19, issued warning to politicians that it will issue visa ban on anyone guilty of electoral malpractices and other related activities in the Ondo election.
In a statement released by the US government and signed by Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, the US said it would watch closely the actions of individuals who interfered in the democratic process and would not hesitate to consider consequences.
The statement further explained that elections were not only important in Africa but for defenders of democracy around the world.
The statement said:
We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process. Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies.
The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and association were at the heart of a functioning democracy.
The US, in the statement, said that as partners to nations in Africa and cared about democracy in the continent, it would continually work with international and regional partners to ensure violent-free electoral processes.
The full statement reads:
The United States is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections. The conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world. We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process. Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies.
The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and association are at the heart of a functioning democracy. Adherence to these democratic norms and to the rule of law allows all citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms. We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence. As long-time partners to the nations of Africa, we care about the region’s democratic trajectory and are committed to working constructively with international and regional partners.