Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has assured the Government of the United States of cooperation to ensure a peaceful, credible, free and fair governorship election in the state in two months.
The Governor who spoke through his Deputy, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the assurance on Tuesday when he received in audience officials of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria saying “the conduct of credible elections has become a global yardstick to measure development in any country.”
A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, said the U.S. Mission team which comprised of officials from the American Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate was led by the Political/Economic Chief, Mr. Brandon Hudspeth.
Mr. Hudspeth who expressed delight on the arrival of the team in the state said the Ekiti government has always enjoyed a “productive partnership” with the U.S. Government in the key sectors of governance.
The Governor described Ekiti as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria expressing confidence that the status would be maintained before, during and after the June 18 governorship election in the Land of Honour.
Dr. Fayemi explained that every effort to ensure the conduct of a credible governorship poll is welcome including the desire of the U.S. Government to send its election observer team to Ekiti to contribute to the successful election exercise.
He said: “I know you are here because of our coming election, you want to monitor it. I want to assure you that we are going to give you 100 per cent cooperation. What you are coming to do is to help us and I can assure you that ours is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.
“You should not be afraid of anything, whatever you require from us, let us know and we are going to assist. I think the best answer to your request is, we are going to cooperate with you.
“We appreciate what your government is doing in respect of our forthcoming election and I want to assure you that we are going to have a free and fair election because a credible election is of priority to every country and the international community.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Political/Economic Chief, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Hudspeth, said key high-level diplomatic officials of his country including the Ambassador, Consul General and other heads of American agencies had visited Ekiti in the last three years on bilateral matters.
He said the U.S. is interested in the Ekiti governorship poll hence its desire to meet with the governorship candidates of the political parties, representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other stakeholders.
Mr. Hudspeth said: “It is clear that the political season is here; we have come to introduce ourselves to Your Excellency and to the state and in the course of our stay, we will meet with candidates of the political parties, security officials and of course INEC and so on.
“It is quite important to understand that these steps are being taken to ensure a successful election and our expectation is that the election will take place in a free and credible manner.
“That is what everyone wants and so the U.S. is a long-standing ally and partner of Nigeria to see that it’s an election the people of the state will be proud of and we also look forward to the campaigns.”
Also on the delegation was Political Officer, Janine Lewis; Regional Security Officer, James Suor; Political Specialist, Arnold Abulime; Democracy Officer, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sterling Roop; Program Management Specialist, USAID, Halima Abubakar and Security Officer, Baptista Asaju.