21 October 2018

Nigeria: Buhari Sends Special Envoy to Mali for Parliamentary Polls

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a special envoy to Mali ahead of impending parliamentary elections in that country.

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix had said the legislative elections will be a new test for the cohesion of the political class in the Malian society.

The elections had initially been slated for Oct. 28, but they were postponed last month by the government to Nov. 25, followed by a further vote on Dec. 16 in constituencies where no candidate wins outright.

Last week, Mali's constitutional court reportedly delayed the country's parliamentary elections until 2019 by extending the mandate of lawmakers for six months.

President Buhari, who is also the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, called on Malian authorities to ensure "inclusivity in nation building and politics" as the country prepares for parliamentary elections.

The delegation led by Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, included President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean -Claude Kassi Brou, according to a statement by the minister's media aide, Sarah Sanda.

The delegation met with the main opposition leader and Presidential Candidate Soumaila Cisse who lost to incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a second-round runoff vote held on August 12.

The delegation also met with Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita with some Cabinet Ministers in attendance.

"In all the meetings, the message was clear. President Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman of ECOWAS insists on inclusivity in nation building and politics. It has to be all about the country, people, development and good governance. We begin to have problems when it starts to be about individuals, so he wanted us to communicate this message," the statement quoted Onyeama as saying.

Onyeama said though there are still trust building and consensus steps to be taken, the agreement on all sides to postpone the legislative elections and movement towards electoral reforms are positives.

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