Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has said he wants to leave a legacy of credible polls for West Africa, not just Nigeria, noting that sustenance of democracy and rule of law should be a “norm” in ECOWAS member nations.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari said this on Monday at the opening session of the 2022 second ordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja.
The president said Nigeria is committed to peace and political stability in the sub-region, adding that the country will support efforts that will lead to the restoration of democratic governance in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.
“We are convinced that the sustenance of democracy and the rule of law should remain the norm in this promising region,” Buhari said.
“There will be multiple political activities in some ECOWAS member states, including Nigeria, where general elections are due to be held in February and March 2023.
“Let me seize this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to free, fair and transparent elections and smooth transitions.
“This is one legacy that I want my administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria but to the region as a whole.
Buhari added that Nigeria will support any country in West Africa in conducting credible elections.
“The vision of the founding fathers of ECOWAS was to have a West Africa that is integrated economically with harmonised policies, enjoying the free movement of persons, goods and services, as well as the seamless right to establishment,” Buhari said.
“We must continue to strive harder to attain those objectives.
“Let us take advantage of existing mechanisms and our enterprising population to turn our dreams into reality.
“We have the capacity to do so. Let us collaborate more and remove our outdated physical and psychological boundaries and other colonially-inspired differences so our region can fully attain its full potential.”
Buhari said he supports the election of members of the ECOWAS parliament provided that it is conducted with minimum or even at no cost to the community.
“I believe that the membership of the ECOWAS parliament, not drawn from serving members of parliaments of member states, would be a good step towards injecting our regional integration with new energy and initiative,” he said.