Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja received the President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, saying African leaders must learn their people.
The president, who said the support of the people must also be appreciated, added that the people do themselves a favour when they learn do the right thing.
“The future of our countries lies in our hands. We must respect our people, and appreciate their support. And when the people do the right things, they do themselves a lot of favour,” Buhari said.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, recalled Nigeria played a key role in ousting former President Yahya Jammeh, who had refused to accept results of the presidential election he lost in 2016.
He said the president told his guest that the roles played by Nigeria in the episode was the least the country could play in leading an ECOWAS onslaught against a sit-tight president.
“I was in Gambia physically at least two times. It was the least we could do to stabilise the region. We’ve accepted multi-party democracy, and we must comply with its tenets. By supporting you, we were supporting ECOWAS.
“We are dealing with our own troubles here, but we will continue to support you bilaterally, and through ECOWAS,” he added.
Adesina said as The Gambia returns to the polls next year, the president pledged Nigeria’s support to the country in different ways possible.
He also said Barrow submitted that his visit was meant to say thank you to Nigeria once again for its various helps, noting that its support had been unflinching since he got to office in 2017.
“You have given us technical support in the Ministry of Education, in Ministry of Justice, and in many other areas. We are grateful,” Barrow said.
According to him, The Gambia was gradually recovering from 22 years of dictatorship, security problems, lack of infrastructure, and its parlous economy.
He added that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also sitting to redress injustices of the past, and heal consequent injuries.
Barrow, however, added that his country still needed Nigeria’s stabilising force, “as things would have been very difficult for us without the invaluable support you gave.”