The United States welcomes the news of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s return to Nigeria and wishes him well in his continued recuperation. The National Assembly’s designation of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President during Yar’Adua’s recovery demonstrates Nigeria's resolve to adhere to constitutional order and rule of law. Nigeria needs strong and effective leadership to manage its many political, economic, and security challenges.
Johnnie Carson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, traveled to Nigeria recently to discuss bilateral issues. He met with the acting president and stressed to him and other Nigerian leaders the importance of making next year's election credible after the deeply flawed balloting of 2007. Recent elections in Anambra state, while considered free and fair, highlighted the need for a stronger electoral administration to improve voter access and turnout.
The U.S. has been supporting electoral reform in Nigeria by aiding the nation's Electoral Reform Commission, and will continue to do so. Assistant Secretary Carson urged leaders to make this one of their highest priorities and improve adherence to democratic principles and government accountability. He also spoke out about the widespread corruption of some levels of government that is preventing Nigeria's citizens from sharing in the nation's great mineral wealth.
The goal of U.S. policy remains to enhance Nigeria's great potential as a regional leader and strategic partner in African affairs. Nigeria’s democracy and its continued adherence to constitutional rule of law are important priorities to fulfill that end.