President Buhari initiates moves for orderly transition in Gambia
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has activated a process of ensuring orderly transition of power in The Gambia in discharge of his mandate as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator in the political impasse in the country.
President Yahya Jammeh who had earlier conceded defeat in the country’s presidential election after a 22-year rule later rejected the result, asking for fresh polls to be conducted.
A statement on Saturday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, indicated that Buhari has directed his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to lead a Mediation Support Team (MST) which will work with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama.
The statement reads: "One of the outcomes of the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held on December 17, 2016 in Abuja was the decision to designate President Muhammadu Buhari as the Mediator for The Gambia with John Mahama, the out- going President of Ghana as Co-Mediator."
"The Summit also gave the terms of reference to include ensuring the safety of the President-Elect, Adama Barrow, the political leaders and the entire population; upholding the result of the Presidential election held on December 1, 2016 and ensuring that the President-elect is sworn into office on January 19, 2017, in conformity with the constitution of the country."
"On the direction of the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, is leading a Mediation Support Team (MST), working with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama."
"The committee has begun immediate consultations with leaders in the sub-region as well as with international partners."
"The main task of the Mediation Support Team is to undertake the first phase of the preparatory and support work that would lead to a high level meeting of the Mediator (President Buhari) and the stakeholders."
"President Muhammadu Buhari remains optimistic that a peaceful resolution of the problem, in line with the laws and the constitution of The Gambia is possible before the January 19, 2017 inauguration date of the new President," the statement said.