By Gloria Ikibah
The outgoing British High Commissioner, Ms. Catriona Laing has commended the leadership and members of the Nigeria's House of Representatives on the giant stride achieved on the passage of the Electoral Act, 2022.
She noted that her stay in Nigeria was a wonderful experience, especially working with the House leadership and applauded the working relationship on the Electoral Act.
She said: “I've been here, as you mentioned since 2018. In fact, I arrived just before the last election. So, it'll be nearly four and a half years. By the time I finish, I always wanted to do two electoral cycles. And it's proven to be fascinating to do.
“So, I've had some highs, many highs, a few lows, but overall, it's been an absolutely wonderful experience. And it's very strong foundation and it's been really a good working relationship with Mr. Speaker and his team.
“We've worked together on a number of very important electoral bills, his own initiative, the center's foundation he's set up to support young legislators and I was very privileged to support that the launching of that so it's been a great pleasure working with him,” she noted.
In his response, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, acknowledged the robust relationship midwifed by the outgoing British High Commissioner.
He stated: “It's a bitter-sweet visit I would call it. Sweet because it's always good to have you around and to sit with you, knock heads together and discuss various issues. But bitter because you're outgoing. It's bitter because I personally have to speak for several Nigerians everywhere and in their official and in their personal capacity as it is.
“I've enjoyed a great working relationship with you. You and I, over time had robust engagements and interaction both formal and informal. You've been very supportive… It's been a very enriching time for me.
“Your time here your time, sometimes I think your passion is so evident in many of our discussions, and my hope and my prayer is that whoever succeeds you will carry on in that same trajectory in building and fostering and even more sustainable relationship between our two countries. I really do thank you very much.
“We will miss you. Nigeria will miss you; the Parliament will miss you and your various engagements. I pray that whatever you do, various engagements. I pray that whatever you do moving forward, I wish you God's speed and I wish you well, I thank you once again very profusely for the interest that you have showed the work we do here in Parliament
“Even in my own work, and my own interventions, like you rightly said, the last week was the mentorship program, which I launched, which you played a very critical role. I will be keeping you updated.
“I don't know where you're going or what your next port of call is or if you're going into retirement, which I'll be very surprised I was at a young age of 30, 35. I think it's a bit too young to go into retirement, you have so much more to offer both your country and perhaps the world at large. So, I thank you very much,” Speaker Gbajabiamila noted.
Responding to the issue bothering on Women in Parliament, he described the steps taken so far as, “small steps, baby steps, but we're going to get to the destination.
“Let me just say this session is not over yet. We still have a couple of months and surprises do happen, alright,” he noted