Washington - U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday commended Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari and current President Goodluck Jonathan following the African nation's first democratic transfer of power, and he praised the country's commitment to democracy.
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"I urge President-Elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition," Obama said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with President Jonathan throughout the remainder of his term, and I thank him for his many years of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture,” Obama said. With dissatisfaction rife over insecurity and corruption and the economy faltering as oil revenues dive, voters turned out in force sensing an unprecedented opportunity for change in the weekend election.
“The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles,” Obama said. “By turning out in large numbers and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came together to decide the future of their country peacefully.” After an often bitter campaign that included highly charged rhetoric on both sides, Buhari said he planned to meet with Jonathan soon to plan the transition.
“I urge president-elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition,” Obama said. Buhari, a 72-year-old former army general who led Nigeria as a military ruler in the 1980s, said the vote had proved the country’s “belief in democracy.