By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Thursday, condemned in strong terms a statement credited to the outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, about the recent presidential and National Assembly democratic election in the country.
Laing was recently quoted in media reports to have called on Nigerians to be proud of the 2023 general election despite a observed setbacks.
Frank in a statement in Abuja, called on Laing to urgently apologize to Nigerian for apparently putting her stamp of authority on an election that has been adjudged fraudulent and having not been conducted in line with due process of law but with the selfish whims and caprices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He called on Nigerians to reject the call in its entirety, because it came from somebody who incidentally is not concerned about their welfare.
Frank said, “Our attention has been drawn to a tendentious statement credited to the outgoing UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing to the effect that “despite setbacks”, Nigerians should be “proud” of the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“This statement coming from the representatives of the British Government in Nigeria could be described as an insult upon injury.
“We have waited for her to deny or dissociate herself from the media report that quoted her to have said Nigerians should be proud of an election where their wish was thwarted by INEC.
“But up till now, no such rejoinder has been published in the media nor the website of the UK High Commission in Nigeria.
“Nigerians have been robbed and you are telling us to be proud. The outcome of the election continues to make Nigerians bitter and angry because their mandate was stolen.. What aspects of the election does she wants Nigerians to be proud of?
“It appears that Laing is unaware that most local and international election observers including her counterpart in the U.S. and even Chatham House (a UK body) identified massive irregularities during the elections and faulted INEC.
“The Commission on its part admitted that it did not adhere to the Electoral Act 2022 and its own guidelines during the conduct of the elections. Yet she asks Nigerians to be proud of such a sham.
“A US Senator has called on the American President not congratulate the President-elect because of the highly compromised election process. Yet she says Nigerians should be proud.
“We dare say that it is because of appointees like Laing that UK has not been getting real facts about the true situation in Nigeria.
“Her comment during the visit to Lawan is a complete diplomatic fiasco bordering on total deviation from her brief as a diplomat.
“We call on her to immediately apologize to Nigerians over the highly unprofessional, undiplomatic and unfortunate remarks credited to her in the media.”
Frank who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, insisted that Laing and officials like her are among those who encourage corruption in Nigeria by helping corrupt elements to warehouse their ill-gotten wealth in the UK to the benefit of the UK’s economy.
He said, “In the first place, her farewell visit to Lawan was not only misplaced but shows her condescension and support for illegality.
“This is a man who never contested the APC Senatorial primary election but was illegally awarded a ticket by the courts to return to the 10th Senate.
“Yet, Laing who has been in Nigeria and is abreast with all these issues of illegalities surrounding Lawan chose him as one of those derserving of her farewell visit.
“It is most unfortunate that Britain appears to condone and allow proceeds of crime from Nigeria to be invested in buying properties in their country but yet they will turn around to say Nigerians are corrupt.
“They are not afraid to enter the UK but scared to go to the US because they know their stand concerning proceeds of corrupt.
“America is stopping corrupt elements and cancelling their VISAs. Let the UK show a list of Nigerians looters they have banned from their country.
“Let them stop encouraging corruption in Nigeria or telling Nigerians to be proud of an election that has been adjudged fraudulent by both local and international observers.
- “UK as a former colonial masters of Nigeria should allow Nigerians to develop at its own pace rather than telling them to accept what cannot be accepted in their own country.”