The leader of Africa’s second largest economy is optimistic that he would secure a peaceful end to the post-electoral crisis in Gambia before it escalates into troop deployment of ECOWAS forces.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who has been selected by ECOWAS to lead a mediation effort for The Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to step down before January 19 is, however, remaining defiant in the face of growing international condemnation and strong local resistance.
The opposition has urged ECOWAS to speed up negotiations, whiles Jammeh, for the most part, remains out of reach for the international community. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been unsuccessful in reaching Mr. Jammeh on the phone.
ECOWAS would deploy a standby force to flush Jammeh out. Jammeh says it will escalate to military intervention and accused the regional bloc of declaring a war.
The Gambia is mainland Africa’s smallest nation best known for tourism and peanut export. It has a population of fewer than two million people and President Yahya Jammeh has ruled the tiny country with an iron fist for more than two decades.