Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has shared that his meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was to discuss the planned constitutional referendum in Mali. Speaking to journalists after the meeting at the Presidential villa, Abuja, Jonathan, who is a special envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), leading the mediation mission in Mali, mentioned that he updated Tinubu about the forthcoming referendum in Mali on June 18, in which citizens will be voting to uphold the legitimacy of the draft of the new constitution. The former President also mentioned that he discussed some of the draft’s controversial portions with the Nigerian President, specifically Mali’s proposed description as a secular state.
The referendum exercise in Mali precedes elections slated for February 2024, and the new constitution that provides the presidency with the ability to appoint the prime minister and ministers and dissolve parliament. However, the draft’s description of Mali as a secular state has sparked controversy among religious leaders in the predominantly Muslim country.
According to Jonathan, the meeting was one of the series of discussions he was having with Afircan leaders concerning regional and continental bodies, and to discuss issues bothering on the continent and sub-region. Jonathan has been on a mission to restore political stability to Mali after the country’s military ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year amidst growing public discontent over corruption and rising Islamist insurgency.
- Goodluck Jonathan is the chairman of the West African Elders Forum.
- The constitutional referendum in Mali will empower the country’s presidency.