The effort towards consolidating democracy in Africa by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) received a boost on Thursday with the Foundation’s signing of a memorandum (MOU) of understanding with the African Union (AU) to establish an effective partnership between the two parties for promoting peace and a culture of good governance on the continent.
The African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye and the Executive Director of GJF Ms Ann Iyonu signed the agreement at a ceremony at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where both parties expressed the need to improve peace, security and governance in Africa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Adeoye described the collaboration between the AU and the organisation founded by former Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Jonathan as a landmark event, noting that the continental body looks forward to rewarding results from the initiative.
He said: “We are committed to the cause of promoting democracy in Africa. That is why today we think this is a landmark event. It is also very strategic for us to push ahead with the idea of promoting good governance, peace and security because without good governance there will be no peace and security and without peace and security there will be no democracy. As we sign this agreement, I believe we are signing for the good of our continent and the future of our peoples.
A statement issued by GJF spokesman Mr. Wealth Dickson Ominabo quoted the commissioner to have further said: “On behalf of His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, I also congratulate former Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for this initiative. Incidentally I was Nigeria’s ambassador here in Ethiopia when he started the initiative. It took some time, but I am happy that today the dream of this collaboration has become successful. Once again, I want to congratulate the foundation. I believe that today marks the beginning of a closer and practical collaboration that will lift the work that AU does in this regard. ”
In her remarks, Ms, Iyonu who represented the Foundation noted that GJF was founded in 2015 for the advancement of peace and prosperity on the African continent, adding that it serves as a platform to champion and catalyse democratic governance across Africa.
She maintained that the focus of the Foundation is consistent with the “African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ADC) which was adopted by member states of the African Union (AU) in 2007 to promote liberal democracy, human rights, peace, security and stability on the continent.”
Speaking further Iyonu said: “Since its establishment, the Foundation has successfully implemented projects targeted at building a democratic culture of accountability and strengthening of governance. Recently, we launched the West African Elders Forum whose members are former Presidents and respected leaders of the sub-region. The Forum aims at proactively limiting instability and violence and protecting the integrity of the democratic process.
“The Foundation believes that credible elections inspire goodwill and patriotism in the people and rallies them to common goals and agenda for public good. It is for this that GJF and its founder and chairman have continued to crusade for improved processes which require an impartial electoral management body to build public confidence in electoral processes and ensure transparency, integrity and credibility of elections.”
She further commended the AU for seeing meaning and strength in the work of the Foundation, saying: “We are pleased that the African Union is not only identifying with this aspiration but is also collaborating with us in the effort to enthrone an enduring democratic culture and encourage good governance in Africa”