Cote d?Ivoire?s President, Alassane Ouattara, has called on citizens to reflect on the works and ideals of the country?s Founding President, Felix Houphou?t-Boigny.
The call is contained in Ouattara?s message to the country on the 20th anniversary of Houphou?t-Boigny?s death.
Houphou?t-Boigny officially became Cote d?Ivoire?s president on May 1, 1959 and died in office on Dec. 7, 1993 due to a terminal illness.
At the time of his death, Houphou?t-Boigny was the longest-serving leader in Africa and the third in the world, after Fidel Castro of Cuba and North Korea?s Kim II Sung.
Ouattara described the former president as a lover of peace and true citizen who stood for the country at critical moments.
He said “when we look back, we cannot but see the footprints he left behind, we must learn lessons from such footprints.??
Ouattarra was the Prime Minister at the time of Houphou?t-Boigny?s death, but could not succeed him due to internal politics which favoured Henry Bedie then President of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, some citizens said in Abidjan on Saturday described the late founding president as a principled leader and the father of the nation.
Mrs Mariame Coulbaly, a retired teacher, described him as a leader who promoted religious tolerance in the country.
She said “Houphou?t-Boigny loved everyone. He was a Christian but had Muslims, animists and those who believed in other religions in his life. He was a pious man.??
Yao Patrick, a civil servant residing in Rivera Abidjan, said the legacies of the late former president were still visible in the country.
He said “he cannot be forgotten easily, he was not known to have amassed wealth for himself and his family, he worked for Cote d?Ivoire, his legacies are lessons for today?s leaders.??