The office of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, says he is 'strictly neutral' on the forthcoming Nigeria presidential election.
The archbishop said this in reaction to speculations that his meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has political coloration.
But the spokesman in a statement countered the alleged reports, saying the archbishop is “strictly neutral and does not make endorsements in elections”.
The archbishop was a keynote speaker at a conference where he delivered a paper titled ‘Towards 2019 Elections: the moral actions for the common good of Nigeria’.
After the event on Saturday in Abuja, he met with Abubakar and later with Buhari.
His spokesman said there were speculations that Welby made the visits for political reasons.
“The Archbishop is strictly neutral and does not make endorsements in elections,” the statement read.
“The choice of the next President of the Federal Republic is one for the Nigerian people. The Archbishop continues to pray for the peace and flourishing of Nigeria and the security of all its people.
“At the invitation of the INTERFAITH INITIATIVE FOR PEACE, the Archbishop of Canterbury made a brief visit to Nigeria on 13 October 2013 and delivered an address on ethics during electoral campaigns supporting the general desire for free, fair, transparent, peaceful and credible elections.
“In the course of his visit, with the support of the British High Commissioner Paul Arkwright, he met separately with President Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.”