The United Kingdom, United States of America and European Union, in collaboration with no fewer than 19 developed nations, have lauded Nigeria for sustaining the ideals of democracy since the country returned to participatory governance in 1999.
Nigerians voting on an election day The countries’ applause for Nigeria was contained in a special joint statement released on their behalf by the British High Commission in Abuja, yesterday. In the message, the countries particularly lauded Nigerians for a peaceful transition of power from a ruling party to an opposition party in 2015. The countries, however, pleaded with Nigerians to consolidate and deepen democracy as Nigeria heads for another important election next year.
They maintained that while they were not interested in who will emerge the winner of the next election, they would want to see a process that is fair, free and inclusive of under-represented groups, such as women, youths and persons with disabilities. The statement read: “We join Nigerians today in celebrating the day on which democracy and civilian rule were restored. “In Nigeria, as in so many of our countries, the right for all citizens to enjoy equal participation in the democratic process was achieved after considerable struggle and suffering. We remember and celebrate all those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.
“The struggle to achieve democracy gives it a special value and places responsibility on all of us to support the democratic process. We congratulate Nigeria on its progress since 1999, including the first peaceful transition of power from a ruling party to an opposition party in 2015.
“As we celebrate your progress, we encourage and support Nigeria and its people to consolidate and deepen democracy as the country heads towards important elections next year.
“Who will win the general elections in 2019 is a decision for the Nigerian people. Our concern as partners of Nigeria is to see a process that is free, fair and inclusive.
We are particularly keen to see greater participation in politics from under-represented groups, including women, young people and people with disabilities.”