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A tale of two elections: Liberia’s triumph and Nigeria’s travails ~ by Emmanuel Ihim


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The Liberian Example: A Beacon of Democratic Integrity

The recent presidential elections in Liberia have set a new benchmark for democratic integrity in Africa. President Dr. George Manneh Weah’s graceful concession to Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai on November 17, 2023, has been a shining example of political maturity and commitment to democratic norms.

In the wake of Liberia’s recent presidential election, the world has witnessed an exemplary display of democratic values and principles. In a dignified and respectful concession speech, Dr. George Manneh Weah, the outgoing President of Liberia, acknowledged the victory of Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai. This move not only demonstrated Weah’s commitment to Liberia’s democratic process but also set a precedent for electoral integrity and peaceful transitions of power in Africa.

Emmanuel Ihim, Esq.
The author, Emmanuel Ihim, Esq.

In his heartfelt address, President Weah acknowledged the victory of his opponent with dignity, underscoring his respect for the electoral process and the sovereign will of the Liberian people. By prioritizing national unity over personal ambition, President Weah demonstrated a rare quality of leadership, embodying the principles of transparency, integrity, and accountability.

President Weah’s speech was a testament to his respect for the Liberian Constitution, the Electoral Act, and the electoral umpires he appointed. His words echoed the sentiments of a leader who, despite personal and political loss, prioritized the will of the people and the health of the nation’s democracy. Weah’s actions serve as a reminder that in a true democracy, the ultimate power lies with the people and their collective will.

The Liberian election, marked by fairness, transparency, and credibility, is a model for other African nations. It is a story of a nation overcoming its past challenges and embracing a future where the rule of law and the dignity of its people are upheld. Dr. Weah’s leadership in this peaceful transition is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that even in defeat, there is victory in preserving democratic integrity.

Contrasting with Nigeria’s Electoral Quagmire

In stark contrast, the recent presidential election in Nigeria paints a troubling picture of democratic backsliding. The February 25, 2023, election, marred by allegations of irregularities, fraud, and violence, has been globally criticized for its lack of transparency and fairness. The election, which saw Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerge as the winner, has been embroiled in controversy, with widespread allegations of electoral malpractice.

The subsequent judgments by Nigeria’s Appeal Court Tribunal and Supreme Court, upholding the election results, have sparked debates and dissatisfaction among a significant portion of the Nigerian populace. Critics argue that these judgments reflect a deviation from the principles of justice, fairness, and impartiality, essential tenets of a functioning democracy. The Nigerian scenario reveals a concerning trend where electoral integrity is compromised, and the sovereign will of the people is seemingly disregarded.

A Call to Action: Restoring Democracy in Nigeria

The contrasting scenarios in Liberia and Nigeria serve as a powerful reminder of the fragility of democracy. While Liberia emerges as a symbol of democratic resilience, Nigeria faces the challenge of restoring faith in its electoral process.

The Nigerian situation calls for a collective effort to safeguard democratic values and ensure that the sovereign will of the people is respected. It is a call to action for Nigerians and the international community to advocate for reforms that strengthen electoral integrity and uphold the rule of law. The Nigerian people’s fight to reclaim their democratic rights is a national imperative and a critical chapter in the broader narrative of democracy in Africa.

As Liberia celebrates its triumph in democracy, Nigeria’s travails in democratic backsliding underscore the urgent need for vigilance and action in defending democratic principles. The path ahead for Nigeria is not easy, but it is necessary. The lessons from Liberia show that even in the face of challenges and travails, democracy can prevail, and the people’s will can triumph.

In conclusion, while Liberia stands as a shining example of democratic success, Nigeria’s ongoing struggles highlight the urgent need for change and reform. The preservation of democracy in Africa depends on the ability of its nations to learn from each other, embrace the rule of law, and ensure that the voice of the people remains the cornerstone of governance.

The tale of these two elections is a vivid reminder that democracy is not just about the act of voting; it is about ensuring that every vote counts, that every voice is heard, and that the people’s will prevails. It is a call to action for all nations to safeguard the integrity of their democratic institutions and processes, for the true measure of a nation’s democratic maturity is reflected not only in how it conducts elections but also in how it responds to their outcomes.

Pastor Emmanuel Ihim Esq. is a Minister by calling, a Lawyer by vocation, and an activist by passion. Pastor Ihim is a committed advocate for restoring integrity and justice in Nigeria’s democratic process. You may contact Pastor Ihim at eihim60@gmail.com.

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