Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
10ABUJA201
2010-02-23 21:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

JONATHAN TELLS FORMER PRESIDENT HIS PLANS FOR NEW INEC

Tags:  PREL OVIP PGOV PINR ASEC SOCI KDEM PTER NI 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHUJA #0201/01 0542117
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O 232117Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0408
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS IMMEDIATE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 0121
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000201 

SIPDIS
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, AF/RSA, AF/PDPA, DRL, INR/AA
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PASS TO AMEMBASSY MALABO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/26
TAGS: PREL OVIP PGOV PINR ASEC SOCI KDEM PTER NI
SUBJECT: JONATHAN TELLS FORMER PRESIDENT HIS PLANS FOR NEW INEC
COMMISSIONERS

REF: ABUJA 0189 AND PREVIOUS

CLASSIFIED BY: James P. McAnulty, Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy
Abuja, Political Section; REASON: 1.4(B),(D)

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SUMMARY

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000201

SIPDIS
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, AF/RSA, AF/PDPA, DRL, INR/AA
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PASS TO AMEMBASSY MALABO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/26
TAGS: PREL OVIP PGOV PINR ASEC SOCI KDEM PTER NI
SUBJECT: JONATHAN TELLS FORMER PRESIDENT HIS PLANS FOR NEW INEC
COMMISSIONERS

REF: ABUJA 0189 AND PREVIOUS

CLASSIFIED BY: James P. McAnulty, Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy
Abuja, Political Section; REASON: 1.4(B),(D)

--------------

SUMMARY

--------------




1. (C) Former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice included the Ambassador in their 30-minute
courtesy call on Acting President Goodluck Jonathan at his official
residence February 21. PolOff (notetaker) and an aide to Dr. Rice
accompanied the delegation. Various topics arose during the
Bush-Rice courtesy call, including discussion of the need for
credible 2011 elections and Nigeria's concern over the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) watch list. Both Bush
and Rice noted that they were no longer in office and not in a
position to influence U.S. policy. The former President thanked
Nigeria for contributions to regional and global peace-keeping
efforts, particularly in Liberia during his tenure. Acting
President Jonathan responded that Bush had done "more for Africa
than most other leaders" by expanding African exports under the
African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and establishing the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Ambassador
used the opportunity to leave with Jonathan a non-paper with key
points on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),as
suggested by Assistant Secretary Carson, which included securing a
highly regarded replacement for the INEC chairperson by June 2010.
A follow-up meeting with Jonathan is scheduled for February 24. END
SUMMARY.



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ELECTIONS, NIGER, AND INEC

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2. (C) Emphasizing that he was in Nigeria as a private citizen,
former President Bush said that, given Nigeria's regional role, it
was important for it to have "fair, transparent, and open" general

elections in 2011, noting that such action would "send a great
signal to the world" and allow Nigeria to "serve as a great
example" to the rest of Africa. Jonathan pledged his support for
credible elections and the rule of law, and lamented the recent
coup in neighboring Niger, declaring that "unconstitutional
governments are no longer welcome in this region." Jonathan
briefly discussed the recent visit by the Economic Community of
West African States (ECOWAS) delegation, led by former Nigerian
Head of State Abdulsalam Abubakar and including ECOWAS President
Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas and Senegalese Foreign Minister Madicke
Niang. He related that ruling junta members told the ECOWAS
visitors of their willingness to hold early elections and noted
that Nigeria would press for polls within three months. He
expressed hope that the U.S. would offer assistance for elections
in Niger.




3. (C) Jonathan expressed his resolve to select new Commissioners
to serve on the INEC "based on people that Nigerians can believe
in" from candidates not based on political affiliation. He
acknowledged that INEC had experienced logistical problems in the
February 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, which he
pledged to rectify.



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UMAR FAROUK ABDULMUTALLAB

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ABUJA 00000201 002 OF 003



4. (C) Acting President Jonathan expressed his sincerest regret for
the events of December 25 involving the attempted terrorist attack
by Abdulmutallab aboard a U.S. airliner. While acknowledging that
Nigeria had "pockets of religious extremism," he opined that the
violence usually resulted from rivalries between sects, insisting
that foreigners have not become targets. He observed that the U.S.
Embassy in Abuja had never seen a protest outside its gates.
Furthermore, Jonathan expressed his concern for the well-being of
innocent bystanders when violence erupted.




5. (C) Jonathan joked that "Nigerians don't want to die" and that
suicide bombers like Abdulmutallab possessed "traits alien to the
nation," which were usually inculcated from abroad. He observed
that most extremists since September 11, 2001, have not come from
economically disadvantaged backgrounds and "had stayed in some of
the best cities in the world, but received some bad influences
while they were there." Former President Bush observed that it was
never the leaders who were suicide bombers, but "some poor kid"
whom the leaders had brainwashed into committing the attack. The
Ambassador took the opportunity to inform Jonathan of the signing
by the U.S. and Nigeria of a bilateral memorandum of understanding
(MOU) on Air Marshals February 19, which she described as greatly
enhancing aviation security between the two countries. The Acting
President, who clearly was unaware of the signing, added that the
Nigerian Government wanted to incorporate elements of the MOU into
the pending counter-terrorism legislation, whose passage he looked
forward to "soon." Jonathan went on about the domestic focus of
terrorist groups and continued to emphasize that there were no
outside links to extremist groups in Nigeria.



--------------

TSA WATCH LIST

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6. (C) Acting President Jonathan decried the effect Nigeria's
inclusion on the TSA watch list would have on foreign investment,
economic development, and job creation. "No investor will want to
be associated with a country without free movement," he lamented.
Jonathan said, although he recognized Bush as a former President,
he remarked that he still retained influence as a former leader.
The former President declared that "I don't have anything to do
with Government any longer" and, turning to the Ambassador, quipped
that "It's her job now." He added that "I'm sure that our
diplomats will work through these issues." He explained that the
best aspect of retirement was that he was not responsible for these
difficult and sensitive issues anymore.




7. (C) Lastly, the former President expressed his best wishes for a
speedy recovery to ailing President Yar'Adua, whom he described as
"a gentle soul" with whom he had enjoyed a "very good visit" as
President. He concluded that "our prayers are with him and his
family."



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COMMENT

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8. (C) The former President and former Secretary strongly
emphasized their positions as private citizens. They declined to
offer any criticisms of current U.S. policies even when potential
opportunities arose to do so. This brief courtesy call by the
former President and former Secretary, arranged at the request of
Nigeria's Acting President, usefully advanced U.S. themes on

ABUJA 00000201 003 OF 003


democracy, good governance, regional security, and
counter-terrorism. Ambassador is scheduled to meet with the Acting
President February 24 at 9 p.m. to review with him the non-paper
she left with him February 21 on the U.S. position on INEC and the
need to ensure that the current Chairperson does not remain at the
helm after June 2010. END COMMENT.
SANDERS