By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
The outgoing British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Liang said Nigerians should be proud of the 2023 general polls despite some setbacks experienced during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Liang was answering questions from reporters after she paid a farewell visit to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in Abuja.
She described Nigeria’s politics as “fascinating” saying she was “impressed with Nigeria’s democratic journey so far.”
Asked about her impression of Nigeria and her democracy, Liang said: “It is obvious Nigerians are most amazing people. I have travelled a lot across Nigeria, to all the geopolitical zones.
“I have made very good friends everywhere I have gone. I love Nigeria’s music and dancing. The culture here is just so rich.
“Secondly, Nigeria’s politics is just so fascinating. I was here for the last election and I will finish with this election. I am indeed impressed with Nigeria’s democratic journey.
“Yes, there have been some setbacks but overall, I see this as positive and Nigerians should be proud.
“Nigeria’s politics is fascinating just to watch it. What I really want to get across is that Nigeria is the biggest democracy in Africa. The world watches your progress to democracy.
“Although there were some disappointments in this election, I think overall Nigerians should be proud.”
She added: “Since 1999, you have stuck with democracy and that should not be taken for granted because if you look at the region as a whole, some countries had coups, Presidents and who refuse to step down. Your elections might be a little different, you might have a three-party system or four, I think Nigerians should recognize that it does count.”
Besides democracy and elections, the British Envoy also lauded Nigerians for being resilient at times of difficulty.
She said: “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 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.“