Former US President, Bill Clinton, has cancelled his planned trip to Nigeria ahead of Saturday’s general elections, saying the visit could be “politicized.”
Clinton was scheduled to visit Abuja, this week alongside Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. The planned trip was facilitated by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the National Peace Committee (NPC).
“Over the course of the last several days, and after various conversations with the different stakeholders, it’s become apparent that President Clinton’s visit to Nigeria has the potential to be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the Committee.
Therefore, he will not be traveling to Abuja,” Clinton’s spokesman, Angel Ureña said in a statement. Clinton, according to the statement, would continue to support the NPC ‘s work towards peaceful and fair elections in Nigeria.
He had been set to deliver a keynote speech at a ceremony for the signing of a peace accord by presidential candidates.
“Clinton will speak later this week with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is standing for re-election, and his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar,” his spokesman said.
It is expected to be a keenly contested election. Two office buildings of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, housing voting materials were burned down within a week, the electoral body said on Sunday.
“This is a crucial time in Nigeria, and President Clinton is hopeful that the election’s outcome reflects the will of the Nigerian people,” his spokesman said.
The NPC, in an earlier statement announcing Clinton’s visit, said it reached out to him and others to ensure peaceful elections and a non-violent transfer of power in the West African nation.