The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and the Labour Party(LP) on Wednesday expressed anger over the telephone conversation between the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
The United States Secretary of State in the conversation pledged stronger ties between the US and Nigeria.
The US Department of State spokesperson, Matthew Miller, in a statement said Blinken spoke with the president-elect on Tuesday.
The development came 24 hours after the Joe Biden administration announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who allegedly disrupted the recently concluded elections.
The US said the affected persons were involved in voter threats, results manipulation, physical violence, and other activities that undermined democracy. The identities of the culprits were, however, not made public.
But dismayed by the US Secretary of State’s communication with Tinubu, the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the result of 2023 presidential election at the tribunal, said the Secretary of State’s assurances of bilateral cooperation contradicted the position of the US on the general election in Nigeria.
The former vice president was referring to a statement issued by the US government on March 2 in which it acknowledged the complaints and frustrations expressed by some Nigerians about the manner in which the presidential election was conducted and the shortcomings of the technical elements used in the poll.
The Chief Spokesman for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, said it was worrisome for Blinken to be discussing bilateral relations with Tinubu.
During the phone conversation, Blinken said he was committed to further strengthening the US-Nigeria partnership with the incoming administration of the president-elect.
Miller said the two leaders “discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”
The statement read, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke this morning with Nigerian President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to emphasise his continued commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration.
“The Secretary noted that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect Tinubu’s tenure.
‘’Secretary Blinken and President-elect Tinubu discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”
Also, a statement from the Office of the President-elect, signed by Tunde Rahman, said Tinubu told Blinken that he would hit the ground running and unify the country on his assumption of office on May 29.
He further pledged to work to ensure continued positive relations with the US, adding that his immediate priorities would be to deliver institutional reforms and development programmes to deepen our democratic institutions and bring help to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
Rahman’s statement read in part, “Asíwájú Tinubu spoke during a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Initiated by the US diplomat, the telephone discussion, which was frank and friendly, took place on Tuesday evening.