US reveals that Nigeria's 2019 elections are one of its major foreign policy priorities

AMERICAN diplomats have revealed that Nigeria’s 2019 general elections remains one of its major foreign policy priorities in view of  the country’s strategic position in the West African sub-region.


Next year, Nigeria goes to the polls and already, the political jostling has begun in what is looking like will be a very tense and acrimonious race. To ease the situation, the US secretary of state Rex Tillerson plans to visit Nigeria during a trip to Africa which starts today and will see him meet with four other African leaders.


Mr Tillerson will meet with  President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government functionaries, and also the leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his trip that will last from March 6 to 13. US officials consider Nigeria to be a beacon of democracy in Africa and are aware of the fact that any problems in the country will have continental ramifications.


According to the US State Department, about two decades ago, the number of countries in Africa with really democratically elected government were really very few, numbering only three or four. It said, however, that now, we have over two dozen African countries with democratically elected governments which are hopefully not going to fail.


“As we look at the elections, obviously Nigeria is a major priority focus because that’s going to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050. It has really very complex political issues and ethnic and tribal issues and security issues," a State Department spokesman said.


He explained that obviously, a lot of African countries were still fragile democracies and the US was trying to strengthen them. Meanwhile, the US commended the most recent elections in Liberia, saying it was the first open, fair, and peaceful transition of governments in over 75 years, adding that this was a good thing.


In addition, the US also noted the election of Nana Akufo-Addo in Ghana, Alassane Ouattara in Ivory Coast and Macky Sall in Senegal, describing them as positive developments. It said, however, that Ethiopia remained a challenge for the US and a focus for it as well as an opportunity.