The acting British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, says the United Kingdom has no preferred candidate or political party in the forthcoming general elections.
Ms Thompson stated this while briefing reporters after meeting with the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja.
She said, “As friends of Nigeria and maintaining our resolutely objective position, we do not support any particular candidate or party.”
“We are here in the National Assembly to draw attention to the statement that was released yesterday by the international community, including the UK on the occasion of the beginning of the formal campaigning season,” the British envoy added.
She, however, stated, “We are strongly in support of a process that is free, fair and credible, and that leads to the right outcome for Nigerians.”
Thompson said the UK government looked forward to seeing the political parties set out their campaign agenda, leading to an open and transparent debate.
She stressed that this would enable Nigerians to choose the candidates that would be best for them and who would campaign on the issues that matter to them.
The diplomat added that the process would encourage the people to go out and exercise their democratic rights to vote based on their informed understanding of what the different political parties and candidates would offer them and the country.
She further stressed the need for the security agencies to be unbiased and for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be allowed to conduct the polls without interference.
Thomson said, “We call again on the security agencies to remain impartial and to not interfere in the electoral process.
“We express our concerns at the intimidation, the interference, and vote-buying that we saw in recent elections and the violence that we saw around the political party primaries and we urge all parties to refrain from that.”
“Once again, we reiterate the independent role of INEC and we will lend our full support to them in that role in ensuring that these elections are genuinely fair and free, and lead to the outcome that the Nigerian people choose,” the acting British High Commissioner pledged.