President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday in Monrovia, Liberia, said deepening of democracy and good governance are essential antidotes to unconstitutional change of governments.
He also called on West African leaders to do their best to conduct elections in an atmosphere of trust, freedom and transparency.
This, he argued, is the only way the sub-region can be insulated from the scourge of unconstitutional takeovers recorded in Mali (2021), Guinea (2021) and Burkina Faso (2022).
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this in a goodwill message to the Government and people of Liberia on the country’s 175th Independence Anniversary.
The statement was titled, ‘Free, transparent and credible elections indispensable to peace and stability in West Africa, President Buhari declares.’
Buhari said, “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 resolutions 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.”
The President also highlighted the role Nigeria played to ensure Liberia’s survival during the eight-year civil war that almost tore it apart.
He noted that his presence at the celebration underscored his strong belief in cementing existing bilateral ties with the West African state.
“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.
Buhari thereafter commended his Liberian counterpart, Dr George Weah, for his efforts aimed at rehabilitating thousands of the country’s youths trapped in drug addiction.
On his part, Weah thanked Buhari for his attendance, saying “Thank you Mr President and the good people of Nigeria. Without your support, we would not have had peace.”