Genuine peace and stability can only be guaranteed in the West African sub-region if the people are allowed to choose their leaders. Any other method will be an invitation to chaos.
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo made this remark when he received members of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) Steering Committee, led by its President and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He described the ECONEC initiative as a “beautiful idea” which would “provide an opportunity for us (member countries) to interact and synergise, just as he pledged Nigeria’s continued support the sustenance of democracy in the sub-region in order to ensure peace, stability and economic development.
He said: “We will continue to support our brothers in the (West African) sub-region because we believe that the only way to ensure stability is by allowing the people to choose their leaders.”
Speaking earlier, Prof Yakubu said that all ECOWAS member countries were currently under democratic rule, describing this as a laudable development. He said ECONEC seeks to assist member states in areas of need, in order to ensure the sustenance of democracy in the region. He said it was particularly important for all members to help Sierra Leone which, according to him, emerged from a major crisis not too long ago. He told the Acting President that Cameroon recently requested for help from INEC as a result of which ‘we are dispatching our experts to assist them.”
The INEC Chairman also stated that it would be better to deploy ECONEC to ensure peace in West Africa, than to deploy ECOMOG (The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group), a Military Organisation established by the Anglophone ECOWAS members in 1990 to intervene in the Liberian Civil War. The Acting President promptly agreed with him.
The ECONEC Steering Committee is made up of Nigeria (President), Republic of Benin (1st Vice President), Guinea Bissau (2nd Vice President), Burkina Faso (Treasurer) and Cape Verde (Deputy Treasurer.