British parliamentarian and the Baron of Kingsclere, Lord Dan Hannan, has expressed support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and stressed the need for independence of INEC and CBN.
Hannan, in a chat with a Nigerian newspaper, THISDAY Wednesday, advised the federal government to ensure that the independence of two critical institutions in Nigeria – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), were preserved.
He noted that as Africa’s biggest economy, the rule of law must be observed at all times.
Hannan explained: “Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy, biggest population and biggest hope. The rule of law matters immensely, and that includes the independence of state offices, including the central bank and INEC. Nigeria is an old friend and ally of the United Kingdom, and we all very much hope that it will ensure free and fair elections.
“I would add that I am a strong supporter of closer trade and investment ties between the UK and Nigeria, and I am confident that an Atiku-led government would facilitate them.”
Hannan had about three weeks ago condemned the move by the Department of State Services (DSS) against Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and had stressed the need for adherence to the rule of law and independence of the CBN.
Atiku, who is presently in London, held a strategic meeting with the British government.
Atiku, who had been on vacation in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since January 1, arrived in London on Monday for the meetings.
According to a source, the meetings which came about five weeks before the presidential election were to discuss areas of future potential collaboration between both countries.
The PDP presidential candidate in series of tweets on Tuesday, had stated: “I just concluded successful meetings with The Right Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP—Minister for Development and Africa in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), amongst other key senior UK government officials.
“It was an auspicious occasion to share my vision for Nigeria encapsulated in the Unity SEED with them. It is a vision United by Security, Economy, Education and Devolution (of Powers). I solicited their partnership and I am encouraged by the UK government’s strong interest in helping Nigeria recover every facet of its life,” he stated.