The Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party voiced outrage on Wednesday over a phone call between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President-elect Bola Tinubu.
During a 20-minute phone discussion with Tinubu, who is in France, Blinken guaranteed better connections between the United States and Nigeria.
Blinken spoke with the president-elect on Tuesday, according to US Department of State spokeswoman Matthew Miller.
The development came just 24 hours after the Joe Biden administration placed visa restrictions on Nigerians accused of disrupting the just finished elections.
The US said the affected persons were involved in voter threats, results manipulation, physical violence, and other activities that undermined democracy. The identities of the culprits were, however, not made public.
But dismayed by Blinken’s communication with Tinubu, the PDP standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the ex-Lagos State governor’s victory at the tribunal, said the Secretary of State’s assurances of bilateral cooperation contradicted the position of the US on the general election in Nigeria.
The former vice president was referring to a statement issued by the US government on March 2 in which it acknowledged the complaints and frustrations expressed by some Nigerians about the manner in which the presidential election was conducted and the shortcomings of the technical elements used in the poll.
Also, the Chief Spokesman for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, said it was worrisome for Blinken to be discussing bilateral relations with Tinubu.
During the phone conversation, Blinken said he was committed to further strengthening the US-Nigeria partnership with the incoming administration of the president-elect.
Miller said the two leaders “discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”
The statement read, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke this morning with Nigerian President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to emphasise his continued commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration.
“The Secretary noted that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect Tinubu’s tenure.
‘’Secretary Blinken and President-elect Tinubu discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”
Also, a statement from the Office of the President-elect, signed by Tunde Rahman, said Tinubu told Blinken that he would hit the ground running and unify the country on his assumption of office on May 29.