Liberia: Dr. Sawyer calls for political summit

Dr. Sawyer (left) was accompanied to the summit by Ambassador Conteh

Dr. Sawyer (left) was accompanied to the summit by Ambassador Conteh

Liberia’s former interim president Dr. Amos Sawyer is strongly recommending that Liberia holds a political summit before heading to elections in 2017.

“It’s a very good idea, an idea I think we should also take a look at in Liberia. The idea is about bringing together the leaders of the political spectrum, civil society leaders and the entire leadership of the country to discuss about the course of events, the common challenges and the way forward”, the former Interim Head of State said during an interview conducted recently at the Liberian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.

He said, “We need a summit of political leaders and leaders of thought, leaders of the academy and leaders of religion to discuss how we forge a common bond as we go to these very critical elections in 2017.

“We need to discuss issues of how we strengthen our unity on the conditions of electoral contestation which are themselves divisive. We need to ensure that we move forward with an agenda for reconciliation. We need to access the reforms that we have undertaken and see how we can strengthen and accelerate them. And we need to work very hard much more than we have thus far on matters of human capacity building.”  

Dr. Sawyer was in Nigeria where he served as guest lecturer at the opening session of the maiden edition of the 2016 Annual National Political Summit held at the Abuja International Conference Center.

He encouraged Nigerians to work together in strengthening the institutions of governance, commending the organizers to continue the innovation.

The political summit was initiated by the Save Democracy Group Africa with collaboration of a number of international organizations, including the United Nations, the ECOWAS Commission, the Nigerian National Assembly, among others. The theme was “2015 General Election: Consolidating The Gains And Building Positive Political Culture for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria”.

Speaking on the topic, “Building Positive Political Culture for Sustainable Democracy in Africa—A Case Study of Nigeria”, Dr. Sawyer reviewed the current landscape of African governance, especially with respect to electoral democracy.  

He emphasized how pivotal the Nigerian 2015 election was in bringing Nigerians from the brink of what some thought would have been a disaster. 

He however acknowledged the economic and security challenges as difficulties associated with building positive political culture of sustainable democracy. “Those security challenges are challenges common to all of us in the sub region. But under Nigeria’s leadership, we can make some progress”, he stated.

He noted that basically, the Nigerian leadership is strong and getting stronger: “All of us in the West African sub region are partners with Nigeria in moving the sub region forward”. He also noted that Liberia has extensively enjoyed Nigeria’s material and human support.

Dr. Sawyer, who is the chairman of the Liberian Governance Commission, was accompanied to the three-day (Monday, January 25 to Wednesday, January 27) summit by Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof. Al-Hassan Conteh.

In his welcoming address, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, director general of the Save Democracy Group Africa, said the decision to institute the summit as an annual event is based on the landmark successes of the 2015 Nigeria general election.

The election was generally accepted to have against all predictions brought peace and stability to Nigeria and elevated the country’s prestige and international recognition and acceptance among democratic nations.


 Nat Bayjay