The Immediate Past President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has sued for a free and fair election as Liberians heads to the poll on Tuesday to vote in the country’s run-off presidential election.
Mr. Jonathan who is the co-leader of a delegation of the United States’ National Democratic Institute (NDI) international election observation mission to Liberia also appealed to the candidates in the election to be prepared to accept the outcome of the poll in the interest of peace.
The run-off election is being contested by the ruling Unity Party candidate and current Vice President, Joseph Boakai, and the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate, George Weah.
Mr. Jonathan who alongside Atifete Jahjaga, a former president of Kosovo, and other NDI leaders met separately with both Mr. Weah and Mr. Boakai urged them to appeal to their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the Boxing Day polls. He further reminded them that the future of their country depended on the outcome run off.
“In any election, there are winners and losers. Only one presidential candidate will be declared winner. The other should accept the election results to avoid a political crisis, especially if there are no good grounds to challenge the outcome,” the ex-president was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze.
According to the statement, Mr. Jonathan further urged the political parties, the National Electoral Commission, and security outfits to play their roles, to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process.
Mr. Jonathan reminded Liberians that Nigeria and other West African nations played vital roles in stabilising the nation, urging Liberians not to do anything that could jeopardise the post-war peace in the country.
“The economy of Liberia will benefit immensely from a positive and peaceful outcome, as a free and fair process would go a long way in reassuring investors that the country is now safe for lasting investment.
“If the election fails, it means Liberia has failed, it also means that Liberia has failed West Africa and failed the entire Africa.”
Despite pointing out some lapses in the preparation of the poll, both candidates pledged to accept the outcome of the election, Mr. Eze said.
“If the Liberian people decide that the other side will have another twelve years in the Presidency, we will call and congratulate them. But as I said, if the election is free and fair, we are going to win. This is because we have worked so hard and our people want the change which we are offering,” Mr. Weah was quoted as saying.
The former President and the NDI team also met with chairman of the National Elections Commission, NEC, Jerome George Korkoya and emphasised the need for a transparent, free and fair elections.
“(The election) represents a historic moment for Liberia, as the country will have the first opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power from one democratically-elected president to another. These polls would also mark the end of tenure for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female democratically-elected president in Africa,” Mr Jonathan said.