By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Adama Barrow of Gambia, Tuesday, showered praises on President Muhammadu Buhari over his efforts in stopping brewing political crisis as a result power change over in Gambia.
President Barrow who paid visit to Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the comment made by the Nigerian President during a closed-door meeting in Mali during the time political climate in Gambia was tensed changed the situation.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, President Barrow said his visit was important to him and his country because of the role Nigeria had played in the political stability of Gambia.
He said, “My visit is very important to us. We have always wanted to say thank you when Nigeria gave us all the support during and after the impasse. Nigeria has been supporting The Gambia for a long time in different areas like technical assistance in the area of education, judiciary. We are really happy to come.
“When we met in Mali, he (Buhari) took a decision as a leader in a closed door meeting, he made one statement that changed everything, that if the Gambian President (then Yayah Jameh) wants to challenge the subregion, he is welcome.
“This was his words and that make a big difference as a leader. And that leadership role was very important not just for The Gambia but for Africa because the problem was an Africa problem with an Africa solution.
“So we are very grateful and that was why we wanted to come and say thank you. There is a saying in my country that if you want to thank a farmer for a good job, you have to visit him at his farm and that is why we are here.”
Also fielding question on the role expected of Nigeria continue to play to help The Gambia overcome some of the reforms it was undertaking especially on security, President Buhari said, “well, your president has virtually answered the question.
“We did our best in the most critical time, hopefully now the president will raise his team and we will raise a corresponding team and we will seat together and see how we can draw a political programme that will complements each other’s effort on development. So this is the next time we are going.”
On the deal he struck with the former president that led to the smooth transition in the country, Buhari said, “Basically, the deal was ECOWAS was involved, UNDP and the international community was involved to mediate and this mediation, Nigeria was involved and Liberia as the chair was involved.
“The Guinean President and the Mauritanian President were also involved. the Guinean President and the Mauritanian President were physically on the ground, for him to accept the will of the people, exit to allow us assume office. This was the deal, he accepted to go on exile which we couldn’t guarantee his security. This was the deal.”
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