Lagos - Steven Feldstein, United States Deputy
Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights, hailed the
general elections Nigeria held earlier this year as the most important
achievement in democracy in the continent in 2015.
In an update on human rights and democracy trends in Africa,
he admitted his fear for the worst ahead of the March 29 poll but such fears of
upheaval were allayed there was smooth transfer of power.
“Perhaps the most significant achievement this year was
historic elections in Nigeria –Africa’s most populous country and its largest
economy. For the first time, an opposition party won the Presidency in
generally clean and transparent elections,” Feldstein said.
He said widespread violence did not break out, as they
Also read: Buhari concerned at spate of inconclusive polls
Feldsten said where there were instances of electoral
violence or allegations of fraud, they expected Nigerian authorities to continue
investigations and take appropriate measures.
He pointed out a strong election observation effort provided
real-time verification of results and ensured election authorities would be
more accountable than in the past.
Feldsten said the Independent National Electoral
Commission’s efforts to increase transparency and curb irregularities through
live announcements of voting results on radio, television and social media,
prevented wide-scale fraud and disenfranchisement.
“And when the commission declared Muhammadu Buhari the
winner of the presidential election, rather than fight the result, the
incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan gracefully congratulated his opponent and
bowed out,” said Buhari.
It was the first time since the advent of democracy in 1999
that an opposition party was elected into power.
- CAJ News