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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 11, 1999


I congratulate the people of Nigeria for the strong turnout and orderly conduct of the January 9th elections for State governors and assemblies. Although results from these elections have not yet been released, Nigeria should be proud of its achievements to date in conducting transparent and inclusive elections that are building the foundation for a successful return to democratic, civilian government. I am pleased that the United States is providing $5 million to support this effort.

These elections represent a critical step in Nigeria's transformation. Since June, General Abubakar, his government and the people of Nigeria have engaged in a sustained and serious effort to rectify the abuses of the past: political prisoners have been freed, onerous restrictions on labor unions have been lifted, the empty positions on Nigeria's Supreme Court have been filled, and a transparent "Budget of Realism" has been announced by the government. I and the people of the United States look forward to continuing to work with Nigeria to ensure that these political and economic reform efforts continue. And I hope that some day soon, Nigeria will be able to resume its place as a democratic leader in Africa.