Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo received the Togolese President and newly elected Chairman of ECOWAS, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe, at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday and assured him of Nigeria’s support to him and the regional body.
He is the son of Togolese dictator Gnassingbé Eyadéma who ran the impoverished West African country between 1967 until his death in 2005. His father participated in two successful military coups. He replaced him after his death in 2005.
“Nigeria will support you in every way and we are very happy with your election,” Prof. Osinbajo told the visiting leader, according to a statement sent to THE SIMON ATEBA NEWS.
“I know that our President, President Buhari will give every measure of support required because he would want you to succeed very much,’’ Osinbajo said.
The Acting President added that the Buhari administration was pleased that President Gnassingbe visited Nigeria almost immediately after his election to lead the regional body, assuring him that Nigeria will continue to play an active role in ECOWAS.
He assured the Togolese President that President Buhari holds him in high regard as a person and considers him a friend.
Osinbajo congratulated Gnassingbe on his election as the Chairman of ECOWAS and assured him that Nigeria was fully engaged and concerned about regional issues and would continue to explore resolutions in partnership with other member-states.
The Acting President also welcomed continued consultations on the issue of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between ECOWAS and the European Union (EU) while observing also that each country had peculiar challenges.
The Acting President expressed the hope that the spirit of ECOWAS, which is the spirit of brotherhood would be helpful in addressing some of the issues confronting the regional body.
Earlier, the new ECOWAS leader said he came to hold consultations with Nigeria because he and the body considers Nigeria a very important player in the region.
According to him, Nigeria is an important player and “Nigeria has to be fully engaged’’ in ECOWAS.
During the visit, President Gnassingbe highlighted a number of ECOWAS issues and challenges, including the European Partnership Agreement, being discussed by the regional body.
He said that as the ECOWAS chairman, he would be involved in frequent exchanges and consultations with Nigeria considering Nigeria’s role in the region.
The Togolese President also said he wanted the relationship between his country and Nigeria to remain very close.
In a related development, Acting President Osinbajo earlier today received a Special Envoy of the Nigerien President, Mr Issoufou Mohamadou, Mr Foumakoye Gado. Prof. Osinbajo assured the envoy of Nigeria’s continued support and cooperation with Niger. Gado is the Petroleum Minister of Niger.