Diplomatic Row: Gbajabiamila Meets Ghanaian Speaker in Accra Today

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Femi Gbajabiamila

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, will today meet with the speaker of Ghana’s parliament over the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the country.

The speaker, who described his mission as legislative diplomacy, said both of them would discuss the crisis, vis-a-vis the effects on citizens of both countries and simultaneously devise an amicable resolution.

Both Nigeria and Ghana have been locked in varying diplomatic row in recent times, which was being orchestrated from Ghana.

Earlier in the year, one of Nigeria’s diplomatic buildings was pulled down in the country without any justifiable reason.

The dust generated by that undiplomatic action of Ghana was yet to settle when the country’s authorities a fortnight ago, shut down Nigerians’ businesses in Ghana, demanding a payment of $1 million from each trader before they could continue with their businesses.

Gbajabiamila who was in the State House, Abuja to discuss the trip with President Muhammadu Buhari, recalled how a previous legislative delegation he led to South Africa over xenophobic attacks on Nigeria yielded some results and hoped this would not be an exception.

He told State House reporters that he is not going to Ghana to make any demand, but rather to critically examine the issue on ground.

“One of the issues we discussed today, I am leaving for Ghana tomorrow to meet with the Speaker of the parliament in Ghana to look at the issues on ground, as it affects our citizens, and to try and calm things down and see if there’s a way forward.

“I’ll meet with the speaker tomorrow. I informed the president and he’s aware of every single step that we are taking all the way and we hope that we’ll come to an amicable settlement one way or the other.

“It’s called legislative diplomacy. If you remember very well, during the days when I was Leader of the House, I led the delegation to South Africa during the crisis there with Nigerians and we were able to accomplish quite a bit, to simmer things down at that time.

“No demands. We are just going to discuss in the spirit of African parliaments and we’ll be looking at issues from time to time as they affect African countries and this (crisis) is one of them,” he said.

Asked about his own perception of the entire imbroglio, Gbajabiamila said he was not prepared to make statements that could worsen the situation now.

According to him, each of the two countries has its own case, noting that peaceful resolution of the crisis is what matters.

He said both countries have a symbiotic relationship and hence, working at cross-purposes would only be counter-productive.

“I don’t want to make any statement at this time so that we don’t exacerbate matters. Like I said, we are looking for amicable solutions. “The Ghanaians have their take on what’s going on. We have our own take. We’ll see how we can marry the two takes and come to a solution.

“We are two strong West African countries and there must be symbiosis. We must work together. You don’t get anything from working at cross purposes or knocking heads together.

“We must at all times as Africans, work as best as possible together and that’s what this my trip is about,” he added.

He said the president was happy about his move, believing that all avenues possible must be explored to resolve the crisis.

“He was happy. I believe all avenues must be explored. He believes it. He’s a man of peace who believes every avenue for peace must be exploited, must be explored. Yeah, we are all on the same page,” he explained.