Outgoing British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing has described the presidential and National Assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on February 25, 2023, as fascinating despite the controversies surrounding the polls.
Fielding questions from journalists after a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday in Abuja, Laing said: “The politics in Nigeria is so fascinating. I was here [during] the last election and I finished with this election. I’m impressed with Nigeria’s democratic journey.
“Yes, a bit of setbacks (are noticed), but overall, I see this as positive and Nigeria should be proud but with a remarkable difference [compared to] 2019. Nigeria is the biggest democracy in Africa. The world watches your progress to democracy.
“Though there were some disappointments in the last elections, 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.”
Aside from elections, the British envoy also saluted Nigerians for being resilient at all times of difficulties.
“There have been some tough times. We have had COVID-19 [and] insecurity since I was here. Nigerian people are incredibly resilient. I remain very optimistic about Nigeria’s future. So, it’s been a very wonderful tour and very sad to be going,” she further stressed.
Earlier, the Senate President, in his remarks, commended the British envoy on her positive disposition to the country.
Lawan tasked her to help in strengthening bilateral relations between Nigeria and Britain.
“Nigeria and Britain have come a long way in very cordial and diplomatic relations over the years. The tradition, we believe a highly-rated diplomat like you can help to foster and strengthen,” he said.