President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday lamented that he and other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had to take strong measures to eject former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, from office after being defeated in his re-election bid.
Buhari, who said this in Abuja when he received Jammeh’s successor, Adama Barrow, at the presidential Villa, added that the former Gambian president refused to accept the election results which was widely judged as free and fair.
Buhari said, “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. 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 need for patience.
‘‘Patience on the part of leaders is also necessary in view of ethnic and religious diversities that prevail. Leaders must be patient, hardworking and resourceful.”
Buhari therefore, advised Barrow to always ensure free and fair elections which he said was the guarantor of democracy.
He said further that one of the problems Nigeria is battling with is unemployment.
According to Buhari, “Sixty percent of the 180 million people are under 25 years. They all wish for a secure future. Those of them who are educated feel they are more qualified for employment.
“We have studied the problem and are doing our best to stabilize the situation. We took over from a party that had been in power for 16 years. During those years, the country earned an unprecedented amount of money as revenue, never seen at any time before. It is noteworthy that, no matter how grudgingly, the people are accepting that we are doing our best.”
President Barrow, in his remark, thanked Buhari for the key role he played after Jammeh refused to accept election outcome, noting that his country had received support from the Nigerian president in other areas too.
“We will never forget Nigeria for the help it has rendered to us since independence,” he said.