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Bass, Engel introduce bipartisan resolution encouraging transparent elections In Nigeria

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), top Democrat serving on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, has introduced a resolution along with the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Elliot L. Engel (D-New York), the top Republican serving the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), Nigeria Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas), and Representative Gregory Meeks (D-New York) urging the government of Nigeria, along with Nigeria’s political parties, to ensure electoral accountability and transparency in the upcoming February election.

“It is in the best interest of the United States to maintain a strong bilateral relationship with a politically stable, democratic, and economically sound Nigeria that can play a leadership role in the region and the continent more broadly,” said Representative Bass. “A credible, transparent and peaceful election this coming February would further consolidate democratic gains achieved over the last two decades. Nigerians are deeply committed to democracy and ensuring transparency in electoral preparations, which would build public confidence in the electoral process. This resolution sends the message that the people of the United States will continue to stand with the people of Nigeria in support of peace and democracy.”

“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation, which reaffirms the United States’ long-standing commitment to strengthening democracy in Nigeria,” said Chairman Engel. “In 2015, Nigeria became another democratic role model for countries on the continent, showing that a credible electoral process could result in the peaceful transition of power from an incumbent to the opposition. Regardless of the outcome, my hope for the upcoming presidential, gubernatorial, and National Assembly elections is that Nigerian politicians, citizens, and the electoral commission will build on the successes of 2015 to further consolidate democracy in Nigeria.”

“The upcoming elections in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy and economy, are critical to the future of the nation,” said Ranking Member Smith. “Reports of President Muhamadu Buhari’s apparent crackdown on non-violent protests and harassment of opposition leaders are extremely concerning, as well as the ongoing violence that has been perpetrated by extremists, particularly in the Middle Belt region. The violence must be stopped, along with any subversion of the electoral process. The Nigerian government must see to free and fair elections, which this resolution calls for.”

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Nigeria Caucus, I appreciate the importance of a strong bilateral relationship with Nigeria and applaud its citizens for their commitment to democracy,” said Representative Chabot. “There is still work to be done, however, to ensure that Nigeria’s upcoming elections are transparent, peaceful, and credible. Our resolution lays out the necessary steps to achieve these goals, and urges Nigeria to conduct elections free of violence. Conducting high-quality elections will strengthen our bilateral relationship, help consolidate Nigerian democracy, and be an example to other countries.”

“As a founding Co-Chair of the Congressional Nigeria Caucus, I am excited that over 84 million Nigerians have registered to vote, a record breaking number and an 18% increase from the 2015 elections,” said Representative Jackson-Lee. “Nigeria has one of the largest youth populations in the world and I encourage the Nigerian youth to #GetOuttheVote. I urge Nigerian political parties, civil society, and community leaders to address challenges such as voter fraud and the hardship that displaced persons encounter in order to cast their vote. It is up to Nigerians on the ground to ensure that elections are free, fair, and peaceful.”

“It is critical that Nigeria remain a role model in its region for democratic institutions and work to ensure free and fair elections,” said Representative Meeks.“There can be no democracy without full confidence in the results of an election, and it is vital that there is full transparency so that February leaves no doubt as to the outcome.”

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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