Okowa says Nigerians are desirous of free and credible elections in 2023 and beyond.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called on the international community to partner the federal government to enthrone credibility and integrity in its electoral process, saying Nigeria is too strategic for its challenges to be ignored.
Okowa made the call when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, at Government House, Asaba, on September 21.
He said that Nigerians are desirous of free and credible elections in 2023 and beyond, and urged the global community to lend its support as the country is important enough not to be allowed to plunge into crisis.
“The international community has a lot of role to play; we know that they are not going to be directly involved in the electioneering process but we also believe that in whatever way and manner they are able to have strong voice towards ensuring a credible process in the electioneering that will take place in 2023, the better for us.
“Nigeria is too important a nation to go into crisis and we know that any crisis in Nigeria will impact very negatively in our world today.
“To that extent, I believe that the global community has to have their eyes on Nigeria. Wherever they need to offer support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they should not hesitate to do so.
“Whatever they have to do through diplomacy also to truly help in partnership with the federal government to drive credible elections in 2023, we will appreciate it because a credible election in 2023 will obviously strengthen us as a people and as a nation.
“It will help to give greater hope to our youths who are looking out to the Nigeria of tomorrow and to give a greater reassurance to them, otherwise the anger that we see today in the voices of our youths we may not be able to manage it.
“We saw a bit of it in the ENDSARS protests and it’s not something that we will wish to have again. So, we need to begin to reassure them that we are interested in their future and in Nigeria that works for all where everybody’s voice is important,” he said.
The governor stated that the state government has a warm working relationship with the British High Commission and assured that the state would remain committed to nurturing the relationship for the mutual benefits of both countries.
Earlier, Laing had said that her delegation was in Delta in furtherance of the relationship between the British High Commission and the state government.
She said that her country is concerned about the issues of VAT, education, insecurity and the 2023 general elections in the country.
The envoy assured of the support and cooperation of the British Government in ensuring that there would be a free and credible electoral process in 2023.