West African leaders, under the aegis of ECOWAS, have sent an unmistakable signal to President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia that they would not allow him to stay longer than 18 January in power.
The leaders at their meeting in Abuja resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on Jan. 18, 2017, in conformity with the Gambian constitution.
According to a communiqué presented at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, the out-going President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the Dec. 1 presidential election in the country and must guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect.
“The Authority calls on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-Elect,’’ the communiqué added.
The Authority also appointed President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively in the Gambian political impasse.
Four of the ECOWAS leaders, Muhammadu Buhari, John Mahama of Ghana, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone and ECOWAS chairperson, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, visited Banjul on Tuesday to persuade Jammeh to accept the result of the election.
Although President Buhari said Jammeh was receptive to their discussions, his obduracy in accepting the result of the poll became a major issue at the ECOWAS talks in Abuja Saturday.