United States President Bill Clinton has turned down an invitation by
the National Peace Committee to visit Nigeria from February 12 to 13 to
deliver a goodwill message at the signing ceremony of the “National
Peace Accord in Abuja, hinging his decision on the fact that a visit to
Nigeria at this time has the potential to be politicised.
statement by his Spokesman, Angel Ureña, said former President Clinton
however looked towards talking to both candidates and former Head of
State General Abdulsami Abubakar this week.
The peace committee
had invited Clinton and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth,
Baroness Patricia Scotland, to visit Nigeria from February 12 to 13,
ahead of the Nigerian presidential election. Both were billed to deliver
goodwill messages at the signing ceremony of the “National Peace
Accord” on 13 February.
A statement sent to THISDAY on Monday by
the spokesman of the former US president said: “President Clinton
appreciates General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the Nigerian National Peace
Committee’s invitation to travel to Nigeria. He is incredibly
supportive and respectful of the Committee’s efforts, of the election
process, and of the work being done to try to ensure a peaceful, free,
fair, and transparent outcome. This is a crucial time in Nigeria, and
President Clinton is hopeful that the election’s outcome reflects the
will of the Nigerian people.
“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.
“He looks forward to talking to both candidates and General Abubakar this week.”
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