A former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, and his Ghanaian counterpart, John Kufuor, have urged the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to act on the political situation in the West African country of Republic of Benin.
The former leaders made the call in a statement they jointly signed, titled “Statement on Situation in Republic of Benin”, which was made available by Mr Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Thursday.
In the statement, the two leaders said the intervention was necessary to avoid escalation of the festering political crisis in the country.
“In the follow up to the parliamentary election that took place on April 28, 2019, which was considered to be exclusive for not accommodating the opposition parties in the electoral process, there is a general feeling of violation of the individual and collective liberties which has invariably culminated in the restrictions currently imposed on former Presidents Boni Yayi and some other opposition leaders,” the statement read.
“Contrary to the general principle which stipulates that elections should be inclusive of all political stakeholders to ensure fairness, justice and equity, the prevailing situation in Benin appears not to be in line with the aforementioned.”
The leaders said the crisis in Benin calls for urgent action by ECOWAS and African Union (AU) to avert the escalation of the festering political unres.
“We are of the view that all stakeholders should be carried along in the electoral process.
“In addition, the ongoing political crisis appears to be worsening the security and humanitarian situation which might open a floodgate to terrorist incursion that will lead to further destabilisation of the West-African sub-region.
“Furthermore, we hereby request the African political leadership to rise to their responsibility by urgently intervening with a view to putting pressure on the incumbent administration to play the games of democracy by the rules’.
“Having observed with keen interest the present political development and with the fact that Benin is an active member of ECOWAS and AU, we are of the opinion that African leaders should not allow the present situation to deteriorate further.”
The leaders recommended a way out for the situation in Benin.
“We call on African Union and ECOWAS to send strong delegation to appeal to President Talon to release his immediate predecessor who needs medical attention abroad. ECOWAS and AU should take measures not to allow the situation to further deteriorate. Republic of Benin should be helped to ensure that true democracy is sustained.”