“Nigeria Must Remain On The Path Of Democratic Consolidation” – British High Commissioner

By Bukar Bolori

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing has urged the Nigeria Government to remain on the path of democratic consolidation.

She gave this charge while delivering her goodwill message at the 3rd Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, Organised by the UK funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme, the retreat is the UK’s flagship governance programme in Nigeria.

The UK through it is working with the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as with civil societies in the country to improve accountability and effective use of public resources.

In the High Commissioner’s speech, she reflected on three important issues – Consolidating Democracy, Economic Resilience and Institutionalising a Culture of Accountability.

Laing while speaking on Nigeria’s 2023 general elections and the opportunity it presents to entrench democratic principles of inclusion and equality, said:“At a time when some countries in West Africa are experiencing democratic regression and illegal removal of elected governments, I commend His Excellency, President Buhari for his commitment at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly to leave a legacy of free-and-fair elections in Nigeria. Nigeria must remain on the path of democratic consolidation because democracy matters greatly to the world. And democracy matters for the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s economic resilience, the envoy said: “Nigeria’s economy is more resilient than most. But this global context has exacerbated Nigeria’s challenges even though it is a net exporter of oil and gas. Nigeria stands to benefit from taking difficult and brave decisions, which can free up fiscal space for its infrastructure and development priorities, unlock investment that will create better jobs in agriculture and the digital sector, and help realise Nigeria’s energy transition goals.”

Commending the Nigerian Government for prioritising the Ministerial Performance retreat, she said:“Performance Management Systems enable accountability and better delivery of essential services. These are necessary for building trust and social contract between the government and its citizens. I am pleased that the UK government is working with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to institutionalise accountability through our Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme.”

The High Commissioner emphasised the strong partnership between Nigeria and the UK and the UK’s commitment to a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria.

The retreat was attended by His Excellencies, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari; the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; former President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and members of the Government of Nigeria, senior leaders and key stakeholders in Nigeria.

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