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Nigeria, other African countries should learn from Liberia election: Analyst

A global affairs analyst, Mr Paul Ejime, says Nigeria and other African countries have a lot of lessons to learn from the just-concluded presidential election in Liberia.

The election was won by Joseph Boakai, a former vice president of the country who defeated incumbent President George Weah, in a keenly contested run-off election on November 14.

Boakai got 50.89 per cent of the vote having polled 712,741 votes with nearly 99.58 per cent of polling stations counted, according to results from the National Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mrs Davidetta Lansanah.

Weah got 696,520 votes, representing 49.11 per cent of the total votes.

Reacting to the election in a telephone interview, Ejime, an international media and communication expert, rated the election as transparent.

He said that the electoral body displayed a level of trust by conducting a transparent and credible election.

According to him, there is a lesson to be learnt in transparency, confidence in government institutions and trust in the electoral umpire.

“One of the key issues in Liberia during the first round of the election in October is that the voters did not wait for the results to be counted. They cast their votes and went back to their homes. It shows a level of trust. Election is supposed to be a process not an event. It requires an electoral umpire that can be trusted.

“When people can trust the electoral commission and the political agents can be the eyes and ears of the political parties, you know that democracy is growing,” he said.

Ejime described the election as a “multi-stakeholder enterprise” with separation of powers among the executive, legislature and the judiciary.

“We should have a judiciary that can dispense justice, a legislature that is independent of the executive and the judiciary. The people should not engage in vote buying and selling, ballot box coup and political coup, which give rise to military coup.

“The judiciary should understand that it is the last hope of the common man; if the executive and the legislature trample on the citizen, they run to the judiciary, if the judiciary are involved in truncating democracy, who will the people run to?

“The military should learn that their job is in the protection of the nation’s territory and not to lead in political governance,” he said.

The analyst commended President Weah for conceding defeat, saying that he had saved the country, ECOWAS region and himself from another long spell of election.

According to Ejime, democracy is not failing in Africa rather Africa is failing democracy.

(NAN)

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