British High Commissioner Catriona Laing has urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and cast their votes in Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections, to avoid voter apathy.
Laing gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
She decried the attitude of some Nigerians who usually abstained from voting.
She said such attitude contributed to voter apathy and also posed hindrance to the growth of the nation’s democracy.
According to her, “if you do not vote you do not have your chance to choose leaders of your choice and even express opinion on matters bordering progress of the country.
”On the logistical challenges that we faced in the presidential elections, I had meeting with the INEC Chairman, alongside some fellow Ambassadors and we discussed in details on lessons learnt.
”The lessons focused on how to try and ensure apathy will be addressed in this election; we were reassured that INEC officials are working to ensure there were no logistical challenges.
”We talked about security and tried to ensure again that the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies are there, to ensure people can vote, freely and fairly.
”This is all in the bid to deal with any form of intimidation, including of INEC officials.
”We picked up some intimidation going on in the previous election; any thugs or gangs who are trying to disrupt the elections, need to be dealt with or tackled,” Laing said.
The envoy defined voting to mean the only power that citizens had to enthrone good leaders and to bring about good governance in their country.
She also explained that voting was the fundamental right of every citizen from 18 years and above.
She mentioned that refusal by people to exercise their franchise could have negative impact on them, because their votes would not count.
She, however, reiterated her call on people that collected their Permanent Voters Card to come out and vote in election, to be able to follow up electoral processes and also guard against rigging.