Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 announced that the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional $319 million in lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the people of Ethiopia and $12 million through the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to support refugees, asylum-seekers, and people affected by conflict and drought.
Communities across southern and southeastern Ethiopia face a potential sixth consecutive below-average rainy season from March-May 2023, which threatens to further exacerbate the suffering of millions already reeling from the effects of unprecedented drought. At the same time, the country is grappling with insecurity and recovering from the hostilities in northern Ethiopia’s Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions. Combined, the conflict and historic drought have generated catastrophic levels of need, leaving at least 20 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. Ongoing drought worsens growing food insecurity, crop and livestock losses further devastate livelihoods, and limited access to safe water creates a breeding ground for disease.
Today’s announcement will allow USAID partners to provide critical aid for more than five million people across Ethiopia. This includes emergency food assistance to severely food insecure families; nutritional support to prevent and treat malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women and children under five; farming and agricultural support to prevent crop and livestock losses; urgent health treatment; clean water to prevent disease outbreaks often prevalent during drought; and support to protect women and children from a higher risk of violence as a result of this ongoing emergency. The $12 million in additional funding from PRM will help provide lifesaving assistance for the more than 888,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently living in Ethiopia.
The United States remains the single largest humanitarian donor to Ethiopia, providing more than $1.8 billion in life saving assistance since fiscal year 2022. But, it will not be enough to address the staggering level of needs. Even if adequate rains occur in 2023, recovery from a drought of this magnitude will take years. The United States has stepped up to meet the majority of immediate funding gaps to save lives now, but we need other donors to mobilize to reach Ethiopia’s most vulnerable communities.
By: Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria
The people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on February 25, but there are many angry and frustrated Nigerians as well as many who are celebrating victories they believe were hard-fought and well-earned. In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course. We commend Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent statements committing to take this path, and Mr. Tinubu, who INEC declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so.
The United States is no stranger to election-related controversy and conflict. As much as it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.
It is clear that the electoral process as a whole on February 25 failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations. As I said numerous times prior to the elections, Nigeria has accomplished much in just the two-plus decades since the return to democracy, and a gradual improvement in the quality of its elections in that time constitutes one of those accomplishments. We recognize that Nigerians want that positive trend to continue, including through the use of new technology intended to make the process of reporting results more transparent. We thus reiterate our call on INEC to address promptly the challenges that can be resolved ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections, and to undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them. In all cases, INEC should share with the Nigerian public information about the actions it is taking.
I also want to highlight some of the remarkable results from this past election that show how Nigeria’s political landscape is indisputably changing. In more than half of the states – 20 – the winning candidate represented a different party than that of the incumbent governor. Twelve of these states are led by APC governors. For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results. In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot: seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives.
The Nigerian people have made clear their desire for responsive and inclusive governance, and we strongly support their ability to express that desire. The United States and Nigeria are the two largest presidential democracies in the world, and longtime partners. As Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023, presidential elections has pledged that his administration would be based on the tenet of democratic principles built on fairness. He made the statement in his acceptance speech titled “Era of Renewed Hope” after he was declared winner of the presidential election in Nigeria.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the result early hour on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
18 candidates had contested for the soul of Aso Rock on Saturday, February 25, and the results as announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, showed that APC Bola Tinubu had the highest votes to emerge as the president-elect of Nigeria, also having satisfied the statutory requirements of wining 25 percent of votes in at least 24 States of the Federation.
In the report across the top four votes for candidates of All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Bola Tinubu of APC had 8,794,726, Atiku Abubakar of PDP had 6,984,520, Peter Obi of LP had 6,101,533 and Rabiu Kwankwaso of NNPP had 1,496,687 respectively.
In his acceptance speech, president-elect, Bola Tinubu said “I shall be a fair leader to all Nigerians.”
And to the youths of the nation, he said, “I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy and a safe nation that protects you and your future.”
Below is the full text:
March 1, 2023
My fellow Nigerians,
I am profoundly humbled that you have elected me to serve as the 16th president of our beloved republic. This is a shining moment in the life of any man and affirmation of our democratic existence. From my heart, I say thank you.
Whether you are Batified, Atikulated, Obidient, Kwankwasiyya, or have any other political affiliation, you voted for a better, more hopeful nation and I thank you for your participation and dedication to our democracy.
You decided to place your trust in the democratic vision of a Nigeria founded on shared prosperity and one nurtured by the ideals of unity, justice, peace and tolerance. Renewed hope has dawned in Nigeria.
We commend INEC for running a free and fair election. The lapses that did occur were relatively few in number and were immaterial to the final outcome. With each cycle of elections, we steadily perfect this process so vital to our democratic life.
Today, Nigeria stands tall as the giant of Africa. It shines even brighter as the continent’s biggest democracy.
I thank all who supported my campaign. From President Buhari who adeptly led my campaign as its chairman, to my Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
To the progressive governors of our party and this nation, to the party leadership, to our loyal party members. I owe you a debt of gratitude. To the entire campaign organization, I thank you sincerely.
I thank my loving wife and dear family whose support was ceaseless and inspiring. Without you, this victory would not be possible.
I am grateful to Almighty God. By His mercy, I was born a son of Nigeria and through His sublime purpose I find myself the victor of this election. May He grant me the wisdom and courage to lead the nation to the greatness He alone has destined for it.
Finally, I thank the Nigerian people for their abiding belief in our democracy. I shall be a fair leader to all Nigerians. I will be in tune with your aspirations, charge up your energies and harness your talents to deliver a nation that we can be proud of.
To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku, former governor Kwankwaso, former governor Obi and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign.
You have my utmost respect.
Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance.
During the election, you may have been my opponent but you were never my enemy. In my heart, you are my brothers.
Still, I know some candidates will be hard put to accept the election results. It is your right to seek legal recourse. What is neither right nor defensible is for anybody to resort to violence. Any challenge to the electoral outcome should be made in a court of law, and not in the streets.
I also ask my supporters to let peace reign and tensions fade. We ran a principled, peaceful and progressive campaign. The aftermath of our campaign must be as benign.
Yes, there are divisions amongst us that should not exist. Many people are uncertain, angry and hurt; I reach out to every one of you. Let the better aspects of our humanity step forward at this fateful moment. Let us begin to heal and bring calm to our nation.
Now, to you, the young people of this country, I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy and a safe nation that protects you and your future.
I am aware that for many of you Nigeria has become a place of abiding challenges limiting your ability to see a bright future for yourselves.
Remodeling our precious national home requires the harmonious efforts of all of us, especially the youth. Working together, we shall move this nation as never before.
My running mate, Vice President-elect Shettima, and I understand the challenges ahead. More importantly, we also understand and deeply value the talent and innate goodness of you, the Nigerian people. We pledge to listen and to do the difficult things, the big deeds, that put us on the path of irreversible progress. Hold us firmly to account, but please give us a chance first.
Together, we shall build a brighter and more productive society for today, tomorrow and for years to come.
Today, you have given me the greatest honor you can bestow on one man.
In return, I will give you my utmost as your next president and commander-in-chief. Peace, unity and prosperity shall be the cornerstones of the society we intend to build. When you gaze upon what we shall accomplish in the coming years, you shall speak with pride at being a Nigerian.
I thank you all.
God bless you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.