The U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, gave the warning on Thursday in Makurdi, Benue State while speaking with journalists after his meeting with the State governor, Samuel Ortom.
Mr. Symington cautioned political leaders against implementing illegal directives to manipulate the elections, adding that any political leader who fails to adhere to his warning would face severe sanctions if their comments incite the people to violence that disrupts the smooth conduct of the general election. He said:
“If anybody asks you to do something that is not right and says the boss wants you to do it, or the person at the top wants you to do it, don’t believe him; because the person at the top is honestly saying they want to win a fair election. There is a reason not to believe them.”
He noted political leaders have a responsibility to ensure that the elections this year are free and fair.
Although Mr. Symington did not mention President Muhammadu Buhari by name, the president has repeatedly expressed his commitment to free and fair elections. He, like other top presidential candidates, also signed a peace accord, pledging his commitment to peaceful and non-violent conduct irrespective of the outcome of the elections.