Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that the achievement of peace is paramount towards resolving the challenges in the sub-region.
Jonathan stated this on Wednesday at the strategy meeting of the West African Elders Forum(WAEF), aimed at shoring up democracy and peace in the West African sub-region.
The former President of Nigeria noted that entrenching democracy requires a collective action and consensus building by all stakeholders to safeguard it.
“The fate of the West Africa democracy is been put to question by unconstitutional change of government as recently witnessed in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso,” Jonathan said.
The meeting also assessed some of the current trends and events happening within the West African sub-region and proposed a plan of action towards forestalling a further deterioration of peace and stability of the sub-region.
Jonathan said, “Leaders must interrogate some fundamental issues such as recurring military intervention, democracy and good governance, peace and security, economic development as well as human trafficking in the sub-region.
“Democracy as a communal asset requires a collective action and consensus building by all stakeholders to safeguard it.
“These sad developments which have occasioned a gradual erosion of our civic space and value system is what has necessitated this meeting today.
“Our gathering today therefore seeks to articulate possible solutions and strategies that will help consolidate our democracy.
“This is with a view to actively engaging with governments and key stakeholders to stem the tide of democratic backsliding and the breakdown of law and order in our nations.
“I am worried that some members of the sub-region are beginning to opt for military intervention because of what they consider as the weaknesses and flaws of democratically-elected leaders.
“As respected leaders, I am aware that many of you here wield great influence in our sub-region and continent.
“Together, we can leverage our experiences and the power of diplomacy to resolve the crisis in ECOWAS today.”
He, however, appealed to all leaders across the nations to make democracy work for the interest of all citizens.
“This is why we need to continually advocate for the strengthening of our democratic institutions. Strong institutions are the pillars for the sustenance of our democracy and the development of our nations.
“As stakeholders we must therefore, help in this regard and fashion out the best approach towards the strengthening of political systems.
“As I conclude, let me re-emphasise the point that is often made that for democracy to endure, it must yield basic public goods to its citizens. These include economic development, good social services, freedom, justice, peace and security.
“This underscores the place of good governance in our discourse of democracy. Democracy losses its meaning if it does not guarantee the economic status and social security of the citizens.
“Today, we must interrogate some fundamental issues such as recurring military intervention, democracy and good governance, peace and security, economic development as well as human trafficking in our sub-region.”
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