Jonathan meets John Kerry in Lagos

Jonathan meets John Kerry in Lagos

Sunday, January 25, 2015 3:25 pm

Mr. John Kerry in a discussion with President Jonathan

Mr. John Kerry in a discussion with President Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has met Mr. John Kerry, the United States secretary of state at the Marina State House in Lagos, amidst calls for the postponement of the February elections.

Details of the discussion are still being awaited.

Mr. Kerry flew into Lagos today, weeks away from closely fought elections overshadowed by fears about mounting Boko Haram violence and poll-related unrest.

Kerry announced the trip on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he spoke at length on the threat to the world from Islamist extremist groups, including Boko Haram.

But his visit was not expected to focus solely on the insurgency, Nigeria’s handling of which has led to tensions between Abuja and Washington.

Instead, Kerry was understood to want to focus on the February 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, which are tipped to be the closest since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

The United States has pressed for the elections to go ahead, despite the raging violence in Nigeria’s far northeast that risks leaving hundreds of thousands of displaced people unable to vote.

This week, the country’s national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, called for polling to be delayed, as 30 million voter cards had yet to be distributed. But the electoral body maintained it was on track.

Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) party are seen as having their best chance of winning and dumping Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of power for the first time in 16 years.

Some analysts believe the real prospect of defeat is behind the PDP’s highly personal campaign against Buhari, who has had to fend off questions about his eligibility to stand, his health and religious views.

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