From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged West African leaders to do everything in their power to conduct elections in their countries in an atmosphere of trust, freedom, and transparency, as this is the only way to protect the sub-region from the scourge of unconstitutional takeovers it has witnessed recently in three countries.
The president stated this, yesterday, in Monrovia, Liberia in a goodwill message to the government and people of Liberia, where he joined other world leaders to celebrate the 175th independence anniversary of the nation.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying democracy and good governance must take root in Africa in order for peace, stability, and development to be sustained.
“I would like to use the opportunity of this event to address an important issue affecting three countries in the ECOWAS region – Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. All the three nations have national elections in 2023. In Nigeria, we are working towards a free, fair, transparent, credible and acceptable outcome of elections and their results, it is important and necessary for all our countries to key into these resolves as they are indispensable to peace and stability in our countries and sub-region.
“The deepening of democracy and good governance are essential antidotes to check-mate unconstitutional change of governments as we sadly witnessed within the last three years in three countries within our sub-region. We must strengthen our efforts to guarantee the irreversibility of democracy in our sub-region and Africa,” he said.
President Buhari recall Nigeria’s leadership roles in bringing Liberia back from fratricidal insurgency in the 1990s, adding that his presence at the celebrations demonstrates his strong belief in strengthening existing bilateral ties.
“Nigeria’s contributions to the survival and safety of Liberia are well known. The dark period of your country’s civil war from 1989 to 1997 was a period that Nigeria invested hugely for peace in Liberia and indeed stability in the rest of the ECOWAS sub-region. May those dark days never re-surface in our countries and sub-region.”
He praised Liberian President, Dr. George Weah, for his love for the country and pursuit of peace, unity, and progress, as evidenced by the people-oriented projects carried out to propel the country to greater heights with the limited resources at his disposal. While urging the Liberian leader to do more, he assured him of Nigeria’s unwavering support.
Weah thanked President Buhari and other West African leaders for their attendance.