The Consul-General of Switzerland in Lagos, Yves Nicolet-dit-Félix, on Wednesday said that it was important for Nigeria to practice democracy like it was being practised in Switzerland.
Nicolet-dit-Félix, who gave the advice at the celebration of the 727th anniversary of the Foundation of the fulfilment of the Swiss Confederation in Lagos, enjoined Nigerians to always rely on their votes and never resort to violence.
According to him, things have continued to change fortunately in Switzerland since 1291.
“Since 1291, our country has certainly changed. We no longer have three Cantons but now 26 Cantons.
“Despite the political stability in our country, things are always changing, but fortunately in respect of the democracy of the minorities and without any fight.
“This is exactly what we expect in Nigeria at the next election in February 2019. I strongly believe in the slogan of the NGO, Moral Re-Armament Initiative of Change Nigeria, which says `Use your Vote Not Violence,’’ he said.
Nicolet-dit-Félix said that within about three years as the Swiss consul-general in Lagos, bilateral relations between Nigeria and Switzerland have been strengthened in the areas of economy and culture.
The Envoy also said that ten new Swiss companies had within the period opened branch offices in Lagos, despite the difficult economic situation in Nigeria.
“I am convinced that we can do better and that this is the right moment to come to Nigeria for trade and Investment.
“It is my objective to continue to convince more Swiss companies to come and invest in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The consul-general said that his consulate had also organised within the last one year, Nigerian Economic Days in three Swiss linguistic areas, inviting more Swiss companies to Nigeria.
Nicolet-dit-Félix added that the Consulate had last month received a delegation of six Swiss companies active in packaging, education, textiles, food and air-conditioning.
“The objective of the visit was for these companies to see the opportunities that exist for their products in the Nigerian market.
“We also plan to organise a second Nigerian Week in Switzerland later this year or early next year,’’ he said.
After South Africa, Nigeria is Switzerland’s second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nigeria exports mainly crude oil, while Swiss exports primarily comprise machines, pharmaceuticals and other chemical products as well as textiles.
Due to its oil imports, Switzerland has a very negative trade balance with Nigeria. Some 60 to70 Swiss firms are active in Nigeria, mainly in the south of the country. Swiss direct investments amount to about $300 million, employing about 4,000 people.