West African Elders Forum (WAEF) has urged African leaders to put citizens’ welfare, peace, and security at the centre of governance, to consolidate democracy in the region.
Participants at the ‘State of Democracy’ webinar, organised by WAEF, an Initiative of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF), gave this advice in a statement by its Communications Officer, Mr Wealth Ominabo, in Abuja.
The theme of the conversation is entitled: “Making meaning of democratic reversals in West Africa.”
The participants examined the challenges to democratic governance in the region and how best to advance democracy amid the growing trend of coups and unconstitutional change of government.
The speakers at the virtual meeting also urged governments, regional and sub-regional bodies, to invest more in citizen-centric initiatives that would help serve as a buffer against threats to democracy.
They also called for strengthening democratic frameworks in countries to ensure accountability and guarantee free and credible elections.
The panelists noted that a decline in the region because of the poor state of governance had led to frustration and trust deficit between citizens and government.
They called for the rethinking of democracy in the continent to address citizens’ contemporary realities.
Former Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang of the Gambia, in her contributions, attributed democratic reversal in the region to political leaders’ disregard for normative values of democracy and inability to deliver on their political promises.
“It is time to rethink democracy within our context. First of all, what are the factors leading to democratic decline?
“The context in the Sahel is complex because we have civil leaders who are not ready to respect the constitutions and civil institutions. They are also not ready to deliver on their democratic promises.
“Most of our leaders believe that after soliciting for votes and getting victory at the polls, they forget to deliver their promises to the people.
“Citizens are getting more aware and saying they are tired of voting and not seeing results.
“They are saying we want decent lives; we want food in our homes; we want security and competent people in the civil service who can deliver on services.
“They are equally saying we want equal opportunity, gender equality,” Tambajang said.
Also, Mr Remi Ajibewa, former Director, Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security at Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission, suggested that ECOWAS should focus more on citizens than incumbent presidents.
Ajibewa highlighted the many initiatives ECOWAS had done to safeguard democracy in the sub-region.
“We intend to see civilian coups, which manifest in referendums, popular uprising, military-assisted transition, and constitutional review after the election.
“Not that ECOWAS has not been doing well. It is a problem of perception.
“Citizens within the continent see ECOWAS as a body more interested in securing the regime of incumbent presidents and not working for the people’s interests.
“ECOWAS needs to move from ECOWAS of the government to ECOWAS of the people, ” he said.
Ajibewa also said that safeguarding democracy in the continent required collective effort.
He urged all stakeholders to work towards protecting and promoting democracy in the region.
“All of us, from civil society to member states, to ECOWAS, AU to the UN, all have a role to play.
“We need to mobilise to strengthen member states institutions to have a peaceful and inclusive electoral system,” Ajibewa said.
The Executive Director of Sahel Institute for Democracy and Governance, Mr Moussa Kondon, called on ECOWAS to redouble its efforts to protect democracy in the sub-region.
Kondon, also a panelist at the webinar, said that with ECOWAS, it was always negotiation and tonnes of negotiations while people were suffering.
“With globalisation, people have access to information and are more informed than before.
“ECOWAS must proactively engage and uphold its relevant instruments, especially those promoting democracy and good governance,” he said. (NAN)
Fulham 0-2 Chelsea: Mudryk, Broja strike to earn Blues their second league win of the season
Chelsea bagged two first-half goals to seal a crucial win over West London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage and move up to 11th on the Premier League table.
The Blues flew out of the blocks as they debuted their new Infinite Athlete kit and created the first chance of the match after only 80 seconds, but Armando Broja could not capitalise.
Chelsea looked bright with Enzo Fernandez conducting affairs, and they picked the Cottagers apart.
Mykhailo Mudryk was looking electric and dangerous. The Ukrainian winger opened the scoring on 18 as he controlled a pass from Levi Colwill before slotting the ball beyond Bernd Leno.
It was Mudryk’s first Premier League goal following his £88 million move from Shakhtar Donetsk in January. And within seconds, Chelsea had their second.
Tim Ream had a moment to forget as he gave the ball away to Cole Palmer. The young English playmaker then slipped Broja in, but Ream hit the ball off the Albanian striker as the ball trickled past Leno.
Fulham tried to find gaps behind Marc Cucurella and Axel Disasi on the right side of Chelsea’s defence, but it was not working. Chelsea controlled the game and held their two-goal going into the break.
In the second 45, Fulham came out with more attacking poise, and it helped that Mudryk went off with a knock, giving Fulham the impetus to come forward, but Chelsea’s defence stood resolute.
Vinicius and Alex Iwobi came on for Fulham and helped their side find spaces beyond Chelsea’s backline, but the Boys in Blue defended well and showed they were still dangerous.
Ian Maatsen, on for Mudryk, hit the post, and Leno had to be quick to smother Fernandez’s rebound effort. Fulham forced Chelsea to work for their lead, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men looked up to it.
Substitute Tom Cairney created a lovely chance for Sasa Lukic. However, Robert Sanchez stuck out a brilliant leg to save the effort and keep his side in it.
On 83, Willian tried an effort from outside the box, but it did not cause any problems for Sanchez as Chelsea ran out 2-0 victors
Tribunal verdict: Governor rejects judgement, calls for calm
Nasarawa State Governor, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule has rejected Monday’s judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivered in Lafia.
While speaking to teeming supporters of the APC at the Government House, Lafia, Governor Sule says the judgement will be challenged at the appeal court.
He however call on the people of the state to remain calm and law abiding.
Engr. Sule promised to continue discharging his duties as the Executive Governor with more vigor.
Man Utd winger Anthony in contention for Galatasaray UEFA champions league clash
Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Antony could feature for Manchester United against Galatasaray after rejoining his ranks at Old Trafford.
The Brazil international forward was granted indefinite leave by the Red Devils following a series of alarming allegations made against him by former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin.
Antony has been back in his homeland since then, allowing him to meet with police forces in Sao Paulo.
He returned to England last week and has held five hours of talks with Greater Manchester Police.
The 23-year-old winger maintains his innocence – having also faced accusations from two other women.
United have allowed him to focus on off-field matters of late, but revealed ahead of a Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace that Antony had been given a green light to return to training and was once again available for selection.
He has only taken in one session since then, suggesting that he will be short on match fitness, but Ten Hag says the South American is in his thoughts ahead of the Champions League group stage meeting with Galatasaray on Tuesday.
The Dutch coach has said: “Antony will be in consideration but yesterday was his first time back in team training. We have a final training, then we’ll make a decision.”
Ten Hag added when delivering an update on Lisandro Martinez – with the World Cup-winning Argentine defender still struggling with a long-standing foot injury: “I can confirm, yeah. Licha Martinez will undergo surgery and the team news is Antony can probably return.”
Antony’s last appearance for United came in the club’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on September 3.
He was removed from the Brazil squad for the last round of international fixtures and has not registered a goal for club or country since April 16.
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