US reacts to rising tension in Edo, advises FG

The U.S has expressed concern over reports of deteriorating political climate in Edo and interference by security forces in political matters, ahead of the September gubernatorial election.

The first sign of trouble emerged in the early hours of Thursday when a detachment of policemen swooped on the Assembly complex ostensibly to forestall a run on the chamber by unauthorised persons.

Recall that seventeen All Progressives Congress members of Edo State House of Assembly on Thursday impeached the Speaker, Mr. Francis Okiye.

The 17 lawmakers had pledged their allegiance to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the September 19 gubernatorial election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The removal, though in controversial circumstances, reflected the political divide between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his erstwhile godfather and predecessor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, whose loyalists spearheaded yesterday’s push aside of Okiye.

In the spirit of the political divide, Obaseki, who is now the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming September 19 contest, assured Okiye of his backing even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, congratulated Edoror.

Reacting to the unfolding drama, the U.S Embassy in Abuja, in a statement called for free, fair and credible elections where the will of the Nigerians would be reflected in results.

According to the mission, the U.S pledges support to Nigeria’s democratic process, stating that as long-time friends, it will continue to follow political developments ahead of off-cycle elections in the country.

“The U.S. supports a democratic process where the will of the people is reflected in the results, and does not favour any party or candidate. We are concerned with reports of the deteriorating political climate in Edo and are disappointed with the role played by some political actors in the state.

“We are especially concerned with allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run up to gubernatorial elections in September.

“As we approach the 2020 off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo, we urge all stakeholders to work toward a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful process.

“We encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties and the security services to continue to improve the electoral process. We look to Nigeria as an important leader on the African continent,” it said.

The U.S said that as a democratic partner of Nigeria, it remained committed to working together to achieve mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.