New Telegraph

Buhari to emphasise free, fair polls at Liberian 175th anniversary

President Muhammadu Buhari will today depart Abuja for Monrovia, Liberia, to attend the 175th independence anniversary celebration of the country.

 

According to a release by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President, who will join other world leaders to mark the anniversary, will emphasise to the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone the importance of free, fair and credible elections as they go to the polls in 2023.

Explaining the significance of the trip by the President, Shehu disclosed that it signified the importance attached to the security and wellbeing of Liberia and the rest of West Africa. “On this day, Liberia marks a Special Independence anniversary, commemorating 175 years of self-rule, with the country being the oldest independent postcolonial African State. President Buhari is the Special Guest of Honour at the celebration and will deliver an address.

“The trip to Liberia comes at a time when political instability and the return of coups-d’état have upended two to three decades of democratic order in the sub-region. “Liberia, Sierra-Leone along with Nigeria are going into elections in 2023 and President Buhari is expected to emphasize to them the importance of free, fair and credible elections.

“The President is expected to stress the importance of the respect for rule of law throughout the sub-region. Without rule of Law and constitutional rule, there cannot be security peace and development.”

“Peace and security of Liberia (and Sierra-Leone) is important to Nigeria given the enormous investments in men, material and resources expended by this country to secure the two states.

 

Without the leadership of Nigeria in the context of ECOWAS to secure these two, there would not have been a Liberia on the map in its present configuration today. “Bilaterally, Nigeria and Liberia may bring to the table issues of cross-border terrorism, bolstering defence and trade ties. The warmth of the relationship and personal chemistry between President Buhari and George Weah of Liberia is no less significant and will play a key role in the events of tomorrow,” Shehu wrote.

Nigeria played a leading role in the stabilisation of the West African nation in the early 90s, leading to the establishment of democratic rule and has continued to assist the country in many ways especially through the Technical Aids Corps scheme.

 

In 2019, Buhari was conferred with the highest national honour in the country, the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia, in recognition of Nigeria’s continued support towards the development of the country.

 

Buhari, accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, is expected back in Abuja later today

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