The former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has lashed out at the United States Government over the visa ban restrictions on some Nigerians for undermining Nigeria’s democratic process during the 2023 general election.
The U.S. government had, on Monday, May 15, said the affected individuals were involved in the intimidation of voters, manipulation of election results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who made this known via a statement, noted that the visa ban was the United States’ commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
Reacting via a statement issued on Tuesday, May 16, Fani-Kayode said the President of the country whose government issued a visa ban on some Nigerians for rigging has been accused of the “most blatant and shameful election rigging” in the history of the United States.
The former minister noted that the 2023 general election was free, fair, and credible, adding that only Nigerian courts can examine the just-concluded polls and “not by any distant and/or partisan foreign government or power.”
He said: “Those that have imposed a visa ban on some “selected Nigerians” for allegedly ‘undermining democracy’ and ‘rigging elections’ are perfectly within their rights to do so because it is their country and they can do as they please.
“We should loose no sleep over that because the Nigerian people, a great and sovereign people who belong to a great and sovereign nation, spoke loudly and clearly and made their legitmate choices during the course of a set of free, fair and credible elections which have, to the glory of God, produced a President-elect and a set of Governors-elect who will all be duly sworn-in according to law on the 29th of this month.
“Wherever any of those elections may have been rigged or democracy undermined can only be properly determined by our election tribunals and courts after all the facts and evidence have been adduced, examined, and determined and not by any distant and/or partisan foreign government or power.
“It is also my view that foreign policy, which ought to be based on the principle of equality of nations and conducted on the basis of reciprocity, requires the Nigerian Federal Government to consider the possibility of doing the same to nationals of those that have implemented and announced this measure and issue a visa ban to any foreign citizen or member of any corporate entity or institution that may have indulged in undermining democracy or rigging elections in either their own or any other country in the world over the last 25 years.
“Courage, equity, justice, fairness, and mutual respect demand no less.
“The irony of it all is that the President whose Government has issued a visa ban on selected Nigerians for rigging has himself been accused of the most blatant and shameful election rigging in the history of their country by no less than his predecessor in office and millions of his fellow countrymen.
“That is a pertinent observation and a relevant point,” Fani-Kayode noted.
He further stated that African leaders and Nigerian leaders, in particular, are not mice, adding that “they do not scramble and scatter at the sound of a gong and they do not quiver or wet their pants in the face of a gratutious insult, threat or storm.”