James Dimka, Nigeria’s new ambassador to Liberia, has sued for peace as citizens of his host country will on Tuesday vote in their presidential and house of representatives elections.
Dimka told NAN in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, that sustaining the prevailing peace in the country was critical to its full socio-economic and political recovery.
The election will be the first time there will be a transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another in the country since 1944.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the incumbent president, is stepping down after serving out her constitutional two terms of six years each.
She has led Liberia’s transition from a devastating 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.
The Nigerian envoy said: “My expectations are clear. We are praying there should be peace, before, during and after the elections in Liberia. No nation develops where there is rancor.
“Peace is cardinal, justice must prevail, transparency should be there. Once there is transparency; there is justice, people will be satisfied with the results of the elections. And that is what I expect should happen tomorrow.
“Those who win should remember that people voted them; those who lose should know that it is only one person that can win at a time.
“Once you know that people are involved, that if you win you are going to govern people, then you pray that there should be peace.’’
“If there is no peace and there are no people, then you cannot be president, you cannot be governors.”
NAN reports that many Liberians are praying for a violence-free election and hoping for a new government that would improve the economy and maintain peace in the country.
Some of them told NAN of their prayers for peace from all the 20 presidential candidates, their parties and their supporters.
MacDella Cooper, the only female candidate in the presidential election, on Monday joined hundreds of peace advocates at a concert for a violence-free poll.
According to NAN, the concert ended a three-month prayer and fasting camp by women from across the country.
“We are celebrating the sustainability of our peace over the past 12 years, and its continuation for the next 100 years, we hope,” Cooper told NAN.
“We had 14 year-long civil war, we sustained 12 years of peace, and in order to develop this nation and build opportunities for our people – the youth, women, fathers, we have to sustain peace.
“So peace is critical to the next phase of our country. It is critical that we go to the polls and vote and leave the polls with peace in mind.
“When the results come out for all the candidates, especially myself, we should have to accept the results, and not use violence as a way of solving our problems, but to get to the legal authorities to dispute any concerns that we may have.”