The development, however, riled one of Tinubu’s major contenders at the polls, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, who took to Twitter to vent disapproval.
“I am in disbelief that Secretary Antony Blinken called Tinubu, a contradiction to the publicly stated position of the U.S. on Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election,” Atiku said. He added: “This is inconceivable, considering that America, as the bastion of democracy, is well briefed on the sham election of February 25.
“To give legitimacy to the widely acknowledged fraudulent election in Nigeria can be demoralising to citizens who have hedged their bet on democracy and the sanctity of the ballot.”
Meanwhile, the envoy promised to play his part in ensuring and sustaining cordial relationship between the two nations, saying a democratic and peaceful Nigeria is important to the United States as it is to Africa.
Tinubu and Blinken ended their discussion Tuesday evening with greetings and a promise to keep channels of dialogue and communication open, while maintaining a strong relationship between the two nations.
Tinubu, who pledged to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and promote good relations, promised to hit the ground running and unify the country upon assumption of office on May 29. He further pledged to work to ensure continued positive relations with the United States.
The President-elect said his immediate priorities would be to deliver institutional reforms and development programmes to deepen democratic institutions and bring help to poor and vulnerable Nigerians. He also expressed determination to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and faithfully serve the people.
During the talks that lasted about 20 minutes, Tinubu recalled being granted asylum by the U.S. when he was forced into exile during his struggle for restoration of democracy in Nigeria.
Also, giving an account of the conversation, Blinken’s spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said: “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.”