A former President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, will no longer be visiting Nigeria to attend the signing of the peace accord between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Backstory: According to the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Clinton was expected to be in Abuja on Wednesday, to deliver an address and witness the second national peace accord signing ahead of the forthcoming elections. Apart from giving a goodwill message, Clinton was expected to hold meetings with Buhari and Atiku.
Baroness Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, was also billed to attend the event.
In a statement on Monday, Angel Ureña, Clinton’s spokesperson, shared that the former president’s visit to the country might be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee.
“President Clinton appreciates General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the Nigerian National Peace Committee’s invitation to travel to Nigeria,” the statement read. “He is incredibly supportive and respectful of the committee’s efforts, of the election process, and of the work being done to try to ensure a peaceful, free, fair, and transparent outcome.”
“Over the course of the last several days, and after various conversations with the different stakeholders, it’s become apparent that President Clinton’s visit to Nigeria has the potential to be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee. Therefore, he will not be traveling to Abuja. He looks forward to talking to both candidates and General Abubakar this week,” the statement said.
Bottom Line: Clinton announced his decision hours after Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the Buhari campaign, accused the US of interfering in the elections. The federal government has mounted an intense push back against foreign actors raising any concerns about the elections. In 2015 when the party was in the opposition, it welcomed it but has proved intolerant of those views now that it is in power.