In an encouraging development, United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has assured President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu of a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between Nigeria and the United States. During a phone conversation initiated by the US diplomat, Blinken emphasized the importance of a democratic and peaceful Nigeria, not just to the United States but to the entire African continent.

Tinubu, in response, expressed his commitment to hit the ground running upon assuming office on May 29. He pledged to unify the country and continue fostering positive relations with the United States. The president-elect outlined his immediate priorities, which include institutional reforms, development programs, and assistance to vulnerable Nigerians. He reiterated his determination to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and serve the people faithfully as their president.

During their discussion, Tinubu also recalled the US granting him asylum when he was forced into exile during his fight for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. He urged the US to recognize Nigeria’s significant role in Africa and provide much-needed support in the areas of security and economic investment. Both Tinubu and Blinken concluded the conversation on a positive note, affirming their commitment to maintain open channels of dialogue and communication.

However, former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, expressed disbelief over the call between Blinken and Tinubu. Atiku argued that recognizing the legitimacy of the election, widely acknowledged as fraudulent, contradicts the US government’s stance on the 2023 general election. He emphasized that such an interface between Blinken and Tinubu is inconceivable given the US’s awareness of the sham election that took place on February 25.

Atiku, who is currently challenging the outcome of the presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, stressed that giving legitimacy to a fraudulent election can be demoralizing for citizens who believe in democracy and the sanctity of the ballot. He called on the US Department of State and President Joe Biden to reconsider their position.

While the conversation between Blinken and Tinubu signals positive prospects for US-Nigeria relations, Atiku’s concerns highlight the ongoing debate surrounding the integrity of the election. As the nation approaches a critical transition of power, the actions and statements of key stakeholders continue to shape Nigeria’s political landscape.