President Alassane Ouattara
By Muhammad Bello in Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan Friday in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire pledged to continue to work with President Alassane Ouattara and other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States to achieve “greater peace, security, political stability and economic prosperity in the sub-region.”
Speaking at the City Hall after being presented with the keys to the city by its Mayor, Konan Ouanigbe Jean, Jonathan said that African leaders must carry on doing their best to foster greater political stability and accelerate economic growth within their countries and across the continent.
‘No significant progress can be attained without stable governance structures and stronger national economies,” said the President.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati noted that President Jonathan who formally began his state visit to Cote d’Ivoire earlier in the day noted that there was an intrinsic link and a symbiotic relationship between political stability and economic development.
“Without political stability our economies cannot grow and stronger economies will help us achieve greater political stability. We need to strengthen ECOWAS by strengthening our individual countries economically and politically. We must continue to do our best in this regard,” President Jonathan said.
The President thanked the Mayor and people of Yamoussoukro for honouring him and the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan with the freedom of the hometown of late President Felix Houphouet-Boigny who he described as “one of Africa’s greatest sons.”
Noting that Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire already have excellent bilateral relations, President Jonathan assured the people of the city that he would work in partnership with President Ouattara “to bring our two countries even closer politically and economically.”
He welcomed the offer of admission by the elite Felix Houphouet-Boigny National Polytechnic in Yamoussoukro to 50 Nigerian students in the next academic year as a further gesture of friendship.
The President said the federal government would sponsor at least one student from each state of the nation to take up the offer.
The President had after a colourful welcoming ceremony in the city, proceeded to lay a wreath at the burial vault of late Houphouet-Boigny.
Formal bilateral talks between Nigerian and Ivorian government delegations will be held in Abidjan tomorrow. President Jonathan will also address the Ivorian Parliament there and meet with Nigerians resident in Cote D’Ivoire before returning to Nigeria later in the day.