Jonathan, Sirleaf meet over peace initiatives in West Africa

Jonathan and ex-Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Jonathan and ex-Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Abuja

Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on Thursday met on measures to further promote initiatives fostering peace and political stability in West Africa.

Sirleaf disclosed this while speaking with newsmen after her closed door meeting with Jonathan in Abuja.

She said that the meeting was also to deepen already established initiatives aimed at promoting smooth transition of power within West Africa region, which was demonstrated by Jonathan and herself when they handed over power in their respective countries.

Jonathan and Sirleaf, middle, with Liberian ambassador Professor  Al-Hassan Conteh, left and Ann Iyonu, executive director of Jonathan Foundation
Jonathan and Sirleaf, middle, with Liberian ambassador Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, left and Ann Iyonu, executive director of Jonathan Foundation

“The main purpose of this visit, besides reestablishing good contact with him (Jonathan) to promote the good relationship that we have.

“It is to discuss with him the West Africa Elders Forum, an initiative that he is promoting through the President Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.

“The purpose of that is essentially to have former presidents of ECOWAS meet, to be able to promote democracy; promote safe political transition in our countries; to mitigate in those areas where there will be tensions in the society.

“To be able to respond to requests and suggestions from heads of states who want to benefit from the experiences of former presidents and their colleagues; to make ourselves available for promotion of peace, stability and development.”

“I think what he hopes to do is promote that initiative of ECOWAS to form some relationship between the two so that the effort is collaborative and collective to be able to address the issues.

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“We have so many tensions in our countries today. We have elections coming up and we all want to see the kind of smooth transitions that he ushered and which I also ushered to ensure peace and stability.”

The first elected female head of state in Africa added that she also briefed Jonathan on her established Center For Women Development.

She said that as former president with strong support for women, there was need to expand such gesture beyond Nigeria.

“I came to let him know that we promote women to the ascendancy of higher positions in public service.

“We have started. We already have dynamic women who have achieved several positions in their societies but are inspired to do more.

“We work with them to help them with their strategies and advise when they feel they have reached some obstacles.

“I want him to know about this initiative and to call upon him to see himself as a strong supporter of women, as he already established in this regard with the records he left in office in Nigeria.

“To provide him with opportunity to expand that reach and to see area he can have some global effects.

“Whatever he does here with the West Africa Elders Forum is something that will go beyond Nigeria, beyond West Africa,” Sirleaf said.