NIGERIA has made history by organising a credible, transparent, free and fair general election for the first time. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley, gave Nigeria kudos at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja, during the presentation of the United States President Award to a Naval officer, Commodore Adeniyi Osinowo, who distinguished himself while serving as Africa Partnership Station (ARS) West Deputy Commander from November 2009 to May 2010.
According to him, this is “really a historic opportunity for Nigeria to consolidate its democracy and further expand its voice on the world stage.”
While congratulating the Nigerian government and the people in achieving this rare feat, the US Ambassador noted that the men and women of the State Security Service, the Army, Navy, Air Force and the police really performed creditably well.
He said that the Navy contributed to the peaceful atmosphere that ensured that Nigerians could go out and vote and that their votes would count.
McCulley added that the world was watching and Nigeria did not disappoint it by making history with the election.
The ambassador noted that the cooperation the US enjoyed with the Nigerian government and the Navy was exemplary and saluted the commitment of the naval officers and sailors to its partnership with the US in maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said that the partnership his country enjoyed with the Navy was exemplary and was a model, not only for the cooperation in the region, but worldwide, adding that this had led to the decision of the US government to transfer a coast guard craft to the Nigerian Navy to further contribute to maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea and work together in achieving and consolidating regional awareness capability.
In his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral O.S. Ibrahim, noted that the African partnership station was the brainchild of the American Navy, which also enabled the Nigerian Navy to demonstrate its professionalism along the line.
He said that the Nigerian Navy had its own good fortunes embodied in the manpower of their men, while it had benefitted a lot from this partnership which enabled their officers to demonstrate professionalism in every step of the way.
Vice Admiral Ibrahim disclosed that the partnership had given the Navy the wherewithal to do the job of policing in the coastal region up to the Gulf of Guinea.
The Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has also commended the INEC for the successful conduct of the 2011 general election.
Soyinka, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos, also condemned the violence that trailed the April 16 presidential election in some northern parts of the country, in which many people were killed and several property worth millions of naira were damaged.
Describing the election that produced Goodluck Jonathan as the president as being free and fair, he said the election went on well.
Speaking on the violence that erupted in some parts of the North over the presidential election, Soyinka condemned the killing of some innocent citizens, which included some National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members.
“I am so convinced these killings have been planned before hand and it is the responsibility of every citizen to condemn the violence. Two of my children served in the North, but now, if I have any of my children posted to the North for the service, I will say over my dead body.
“These killings were done on a non-existence foundation. I learnt that members of the NYSC were deliberately targeted. Once such a crisis happens, the targeted ones are the strangers,” he added.
While congratulating President Jonathan, So-yinka called on him to tackle some of challenges confronting the country, adding that past government and presidents had been irresponsible in tackling challenges facing Nigeria.
According to him, “the issue of Boko Haram is a negligence of governments because they have failed to fish out and punish those involved and they are doing that because they want to remain in power. They are not spirit, so there is no reason why they should not be fished out.
While expressing joy over the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Ogun State, he said “I congratulate the people of Ogun State. I thank them for not making me sell my house and relocating somewhere else, which I would have done.
He called on the new governor and the House members to restore the glory of the state.