The outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has described the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections as positive and fascinating.
The envoy noted that despite some setbacks that were experienced during the election, Nigerians should be proud of the process because it offered future assurances for democratic governance in the country.
The envoy’s position: Ms Laing made the declaration at the Senate wing of the National Assembly while answering questions from journalists after a courtesy call on the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday in Abuja. She said:
- “I made very good friends. I love Nigerian music a lot. The culture here is so rich secondly the politics in Nigeria is so fascinating. I was here till the last election and I finished with this election and I’m impressed with Nigeria’s democratic journey.
- “Yes, a bit of setback. But overall, I see this as positive and Nigeria should be proud but with a remarkable difference when I came in 2019.”
- “Nigeria is the biggest democracy in Africa. The world watches your progress to democracy. Though there were some disappointments in the last election, overall, every Nigerian should be proud because since 1999 Nigeria has been on the right track as far as participatory democracy is concerned.
- “The election here is very different and fascinating as you are moving to a three-party system or maybe even four. I think Nigerians as well should realise that their votes count.’’
Praises Nigerians for their resilience: Aside from the election, the British envoy also saluted Nigerians for being resilient at all times despite the difficulties. She said:
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- “There has been a marked difference from when I arrived in 2019. There have been some tough times, we had COVID, and obviously, insecurity has gone much worse since I have been here, but Nigerian people are incredibly resilient and very entrepreneurial.
- “I have seen their positions all over the world and I remain very optimistic about Nigeria’s future. It has been a wonderful time. I am very sad to be going, but because the UK’s partnership with Nigeria is very strong, within a short time, I am going to be coming back.“