Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and his Ghanaian counterpart, Mr John Kufuor, have called for the intervention of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States in the political crisis in the Republic of Benin.
Obasanjo and Kufuor in a statement jointly signed by them and issued by Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, to newsmen in Abeokuta on Thursday, said the intervention was needed to prevent the escalation of the crisis.
The statement titled, ‘Statement on situation in Republic of Benin’ reads, “In the follow-up to the parliamentary election that took place on April 28, 2019, which was considered to be exclusive for not accommodating the opposition parties in the electoral process, there is a general feeling of violation of the individual and collective liberties which has invariably culminated in the restrictions currently imposed on former President Boni Yayi and some other opposition leaders.
“Contrary to the general principle, which stipulates that elections should be inclusive of all political stakeholders to ensure fairness, justice and equity, the prevailing situation in Benin appears not to be in line with the aforementioned.
“The crisis in Benin calls for urgent action by ECOWAS and African Union to avert the escalation of the festering political unrest. We are of the view that all stakeholders should be carried along in the electoral process.”
It added, “The ongoing political crisis appears to be worsening the security and humanitarian situation which might open a floodgate to terrorist incursion that will lead to further destabilisation of the West-African sub-region.
“Furthermore, we hereby request the African political leadership to rise to their responsibility by urgently intervening with a view to putting pressure on the incumbent administration to play the games of democracy by the rules.
“Having observed with keen interest the present political development and with the fact that Benin is an active member of ECOWAS and the AU, we are of the opinion that African leaders should not allow the present situation to deteriorate further.”
The former Presidents, according to the statement, made recommendations towards ending the crisis in Benin:
“We call on the African Union and ECOWAS to send strong delegation to appeal to President Talon to release his immediate predecessor who needs medical attention abroad.
“ECOWAS and AU should take measures not to allow the situation to further deteriorate.
“Republic of Benin should be helped to ensure that true democracy is sustained.”