US knocks Nigerian political leaders over ‘rig and roast’ message

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By Rotimi Ojomoyela

Political leaders in the country came under heavy knock yesterday as the United States government described comments credited to them as “not only inflammatory, but highly incendiary.”
It described such comments as “message of violence, especially now that Ekiti and Osun prepare for their governorship elections on June 21 and August 9, respectively.

The United States’ Consular-General in Nigeria, Mr. Jeff Hawkins, made the statement yesterday in Ado Ekiti while speaking at a sensitisation workshop for Ekiti state political parties and stakeholders in the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti state.
Hawkins in his goodwill message at the workshop expressed concern at the type of message credited to some political leaders, such as “rig and roast” as the elections approached, saying this would not augur well for peaceful conduct of the elections.

He said “rig and roast is not the kind of message Nigerian youths should be hearing from their leaders.”
The US envoy contended that it was wrong for politicians to be sending messages of violence when elections were coming, saying that in view of the recent carnage that owed elections in the country; message of peace was of utmost importance.
He said Nigerian politicians must accept defeat, adding that “the Nigerian electoral process is as good as Nigerians make it.”
Hawkins was reacting to a recent message attributed to a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, in which he allegedly called that election riggers must be dealt with by the people.

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