Antony Blinken’s Phone Conversation Sparks Frustration and Contrasting Views on US-Nigeria Relations

Antony Blinken's Phone Conversation Sparks Frustration and Contrasting Views on US-Nigeria Relations

Wednesday witnessed expressions of frustration from both the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party concerning a phone conversation held between Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, and President-elect Bola Tinubu. Within the span of 20 minutes, Blinken conveyed a promise of bolstering ties between the US and Nigeria, while Tinubu was situated in France during the call.

As per Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US Department of State, Blinken engaged in dialogue with Tinubu on Tuesday. This occurrence unfolded a mere day after the Joe Biden administration imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians suspected of disrupting the recently concluded elections. The individuals in question faced allegations of voter intimidation, result manipulation, physical violence, and undermining democracy. However, their identities were not publicly disclosed.

Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s standard bearer who is challenging Tinubu’s victory in the tribunal, expressed profound dismay at Blinken’s communication with Tinubu. Abubakar argued that the Secretary of State’s assurances of bilateral cooperation contradicted the US government’s stance on Nigeria’s general election. Abubakar referenced a statement released by the US government on March 2, which acknowledged the grievances and frustrations expressed by Nigerians regarding the conduct of the presidential election and the technical flaws it exhibited.

Yunusa Tanko, Chief Spokesman for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, also voiced concerns about Blinken discussing bilateral relations with Tinubu. The interaction between the two leaders encompassed discussions on the significance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, sustained comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms aimed at fostering economic growth.

A statement emanating from the Office of the President-elect, signed by Tunde Rahman, conveyed Tinubu’s assurance to Blinken that he would promptly take action and endeavor to unify the country upon assuming office on May 29. The statement underscored the importance of the U.S.-Nigeria relationship, founded upon shared interests and robust people-to-people connections, which should continue to fortify under Tinubu’s leadership.

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