Johnson-Sirleaf Hopeful of Nigeria Sustaining Africa’s Leadership Role

Ellen Johnson

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Observation Mission (EOM) and immediate-past Liberian President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has expressed the hope that Nigeria would continue to be a leading light among Africa’s democracies by ensuring that the forthcoming elections are peaceful, free, fair and credible.

Johnson-Sirleaf, who made the remark Wednesday at a meeting with the Chairman and Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said Nigeria is not only an inspiration but has continued to contribute immensely to the enthronement of democracy and peace in Africa.

“Nigeria has been a great part of Liberia. Today, Liberia enjoys 15 consecutive years of peace to which Nigeria contributed an enormous amount of its own human and financial resources.

“That is why it is a great pleasure for me to be a part of this process, having gone through a political transition myself; having gone through this process of peace after years of destruction.

“I am very pleased that I will be a part of what we know will be in Nigeria, a process of election that will ensure that Nigeria continues to play a pivotal role of leadership that it does in our continent,” she said.

The former Liberian President, told the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, that the purpose of her visit was to acquaint herself with the electoral process in the country so as to plan for the effective monitoring of the polls by the ECOWAS EOM.

“I have had the opportunity to meet with the team from ECOWAS, that have already done an initial assessment and I look forward to meeting others particularly the party leaders so that I can leave here ready to return with more knowledge, when I come here with the full team sometime next week for the election observation,” she said.

Responding, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured that the commission would not disappoint, stressing that INEC was determined to prove that the success recorded in 2015 was not a fluke.

Yakubu said the commission was not unmindful that the focus of the entire world is on Nigeria and as such would conduct free, fair and credible elections.

“I want to assure you as we approach the 2019 general election the commission is not unaware that the eyes of the world are on Nigeria and on our elections.

“This commission will not fail Nigeria and will not fail the world. We are going to proof that what happened in 2019 is simply not a fluke and that 2019 is going to be another land mark in our democratic process,” he said.

While congratulating Johnson-Sirleaf and the people of Liberia over the success recorded in their recent elections, the INEC Chairman, said the commission looked forward to the mission’s recommendations from the observation of the elections process.

“Your recommendations will be very critical for us in reviewing, reforming our processes and procedures so that our elections can be getting better and all the electoral commissions getting better from the report of observation missions headed by people of your standard,” he said.