Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Gambia’s President Adama Barrow to uphold the democratic values, especially of free and fair elections that brought him to power.
Nigeria gave military support to The Gambia, giving air and naval support to West African forces that were deployed to oust Jammeh after the ex-ruler refused to cede power.
Jammeh lost to Barrow in the December 2016 election and first accepted defeat before making a political fumble and reversing the decision to step aside. He challenged the outcome accusing the electoral commission of rigging the polls.
“We had to go through those actions because it was the only option for Nigeria and ECOWAS. We thank God for the role He allowed us to play in the Gambia,” said Mr. Buhari.
“We believe in multi-party democracy. In Africa, it is absolutely necessary but for the system to work and one to come out of it clean, there is a need for patience.”
Mr. Buhari said that patience on the part of leaders is also necessary in view of ethnic and religious diversities that prevail, adding that leaders must be patient, hardworking and resourceful.
Barrow is in Nigeria to thank Mr. Buhari for taking the lead in the mediation and democratic restoration effort in his country. He had visited four other West African nations to thank their leaders for the leading role they played last year, while Buhari was on medical leave in the UK.
The two West African nations will strengthen bilateral ties as The Gambia rebuilds relations that were strained by the former President Jammeh.