The President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa yesterday received in audience the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking in an interview with the State House Press Corp shortly after their behind closed door meeting, Mr. Obasanjo said he had discussed with the Gambian leader an array of issues including the current situation of the continent.
“It is quite some time that the President and I have not had opportunity to exchange views on the situation between our two countries, our region of West Africa, ECOWAS and the situation within our continent of Africa.
The last time the President and I had very short opportunity to have such exchange of views was after I won election and the President was around for an ECOWAS meeting. So on this occasion we were able to update ourselves on the situation in Nigeria and The Gambia,” he said.
“From our discussion, the President brought me up to date on the situation here, what is going on, the preparation for election and what the electoral commission is doing and so I also briefed him on the areas where he expressed some form of anxiety about the situation in Nigeria. So on the whole, I came out feeling quite informed and I believe the President is also fairly informed about the situation in Nigeria and we jointly agreed that there are areas where we have to work for progress to be made in ECOWAS.”
According to him, during his recent meeting with ECOWAS, they talked about a common currency and what they need to do about the sub-regional bloc.
“We have ECOWAS that has been in existence for forty years and we haven’t really gone beyond the so-called free movement of goods and people and even that free movement is shackled; you try to move between here and Dakar, you would see how uneasy it is or you try to move between Lagos and Cotonou you see how uneasy it is, we talked about these and a whole lot of other things,” he further told reporters.
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s President from 1999 to 2007, has overseen his country’s first democratic handover of power and administrative reforms that accelerated economic growth.
He has played a pivotal role in the regeneration and repositioning of the African Union, including helping to establish the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), designed to promote democracy and good governance.
He has consistently supported the deepening and widening of regional cooperation through the ECOWAS and the Co-prosperity Alliance Zone incorporating Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.
Mr Obasanjo has also been involved in international mediation efforts in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa. In 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed him his Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, where he has played an integral part in mediation efforts in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
by Musa Ndow