The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard has called on Nigerians to be deliberate about voting leaders who will provide security and justice in the 2023 general elections.
Leonard gave the charge on Saturday in Yola, the Adamawa State capital while delivering a commencement speech at the American University of Nigeria (AUN).
The Ambassador’s message comes amid deteriorating security, despite repeated promises of tackling banditry and other challenges by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said, “I can’t stress this enough: voting is the way your voice can be heard, and to ensure that issues that concern you and your community become a priority for lawmakers and elective individuals…
“What happens when you don’t vote? Former First Lady Michelle Obama said this morning you are giving your power to someone else, someone who doesn’t necessarily see the world the same as you. You are letting them make some really key decisions and the truth is that they are hoping you would stay home for them to make key decisions about the way you live for you.
“I see this in my own country all the time, I know it’s easy to get discouraged and to doubt that your vote will make a difference, but again please remember that voting is your voice, it is only through voting that you can hold those for whom you vote accountable.
“It is you and your generation that has the future of Nigeria in your hands as you become the most significant demographic in Nigerian elections, and you owe it to yourself and to your country to demand an elected leader who will govern and provide security, justice and services for all Nigerians. This is the call to action 2023.”
She commended the AUN for offering admissions to students of all countries whose studies were disrupted in war-torn Ukraine.