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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 2, 2003

Statement on Nigerian Elections
Statement by the Deputy Press Secretary

On April 19, the Nigerian people took part in the first civilian-administered elections in two decades. The United States congratulates the people of Nigeria for what was largely a peaceful expression and exercise of their right to vote. They have demonstrated their patience and their unwavering commitment to building democracy in their country. The widespread violence predicted by many did not happen, and voter turnout in most places was encouraging.

The United States congratulates President Olusegun Obasanjo on his re-election as declared on April 22 by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission. President Bush looks forward to working with President Obasanjo on our common interests and to deepen the strong and enduring friendship between the United States and Nigeria.

The United States notes with concern the reports by domestic and international election monitors of voting irregularities in specific states. We welcome the decision by the two major political parties and others to use the Nigerian Electoral Tribunal to redress the problems cited by voting monitors. We commend the leading opposition candidate, General (Ret.) Muhammadu Buhari, for his commitment to pursue a peaceful and legal resolution to the grievances he had with the conduct of the April elections. We urge the Nigerian authorities to safeguard a credible and transparent legal grievance process.

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