President Muhammadu Buhari will today, Saturday join other African leaders to make decision on how to handle the impending political crisis currently brewing in The Gambia.
This was contained in a statement released by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu on Friday.
Shehu said the meeting of the African leaders would hold in Accra, Ghana after the inauguration of the country’s President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo.
According to him, the meeting would be critical to the resolution of the crisis in the country.
He said, “President Buhari and other African leaders will on Saturday be attending the inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo as the President of Ghana.
“Another important thing is that shortly after the inauguration, the leaders will be meeting on the crisis in The Gambia.
“A major decision on the impasse is expected to be taken at that all-important meeting.
“President Buhari is the Chief Mediator in the crisis and he is committed to ensuring that the logjam is resolved.”
In the discharge of his mandate as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator for The Gambia, President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in the week activated the process for the execution of his task.
Shehu said Buhari had instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to lead a Mediation Support Team (MST), working with the team of the Co-Mediator, Mr. John Mahama, the out- going President of Ghana.
The statement said the committee had 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.
Buhari was designated as the Mediator for The Gambia with Mr. John Mahama, the out-going President of Ghana as Co-Mediator at the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held on December 17, 2016 in Abuja.
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.
The statement said Buhari remained optimistic that a peaceful resolution of the problem, in line with the laws and the constitution of The Gambia was possible before the January 19, 2017 inauguration date of the new president.
The incumbent president of The Gambia, Yahaya Jammeh after losing the election had congratulated the winner of the election, Barrow. He however, later turned around to reject the results of the election.
He said he would challenge the result at the Supreme Court of The Gambia and that he would organise a new presidential election.
The world has condemned Jammeh’s decision and had called on him to step down.
ECOWAS leaders had earlier travelled to the Gambia to plead with Jammeh to hand over but he turned down their request.
The United Nation had also insisted that Yahaya Jammeh must hand over to the newly elected president at the end of his tenure on January 19, 2017, a position rebuffed by Jammeh.