From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former Presidents and Heads of States in West Africa have commended Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan over his decision to inaugurate West African Elders Forum (WAEF) in the bid to promote suitable democracy.
The former Presidents and Head of States who made the commendation at the virtual inauguration of the Forum include, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria. Ernest Bai Koroma of Senegal, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Amos Sawyer of Liberia, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde and former Senegalese Prime Minister, Mrs Aminata Traore.
In their commendation during their separate speeches, they lauded Jonathan for the initiative which according to them would enhance democracy and peace in the sub region.
They pledged to work collectively in line with the goals and objectives of the forum to promote credible elections and good governance in West Africa countries to forestall eruption of crisis after electoral exercises.
Jonathan in his opening remarks explained that the WAEF is an initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation aimed at leveraging the rich resources of eminent personalities in West Africa to promote peace by supporting processes that enhance sustainable democracy and good governance.
He noted that his vision is to harness the experience and wisdom of “our region’s eminent leaders to advance the course of political stability and the quest for economic progress and prosperity in our countries”
Jonathan who noted that members of the forum in their individual efforts to maintain stability in Africa and expand the democratic space as well as working together to foster free and fair elections and transfer of power from one administration to the other, added that with the WAEF “we can collectively work as a team to reduce political violence and electoral conflicts in West Africa”
The Former President of Nigeria while recognising the efforts of the United Nations Office for West Africa, the African Union and ECOWAS in promoting peace and stability in the region however said more needs to be done.
“However we believe strongly that if we must have a lasting peace and stability in the sub-region, more needs to be done, especially by a body of seasoned and notable elders like this one, whose members understand the nuanced politics and culture of the people of the sub-region.
“It is my belief that the strength and stay8ng power of our democracy is dependent on how much we build a political culture of free and fair electoral contests in our continent. When we have stable political systems, we promote healthy economies”