By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday assured that as the Chairman of ECOWAS Contact Group on Guinea Bissau, he will do his best to ensure lasting peace in the country to prevent it from elapsing into crisis.
Receiving the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Umar El-Mukhtar Sissoco-Embola, at the State House on Wednesday, the President expressed satisfaction on the gradual return of normalcy to the West African country.
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu stated that president Buhari assured the visiting Prime Minister of Nigeria’s continued support to political stability in Guinea Bissau, also urged the leaders to work hard to reach a lasting solution to the political crisis in the country.
The President congratulated the new Prime Minister on his appointment and urged him to put the interest of the country and its people ahead of everything else.
In his remarks, Sissoco-Embola described President Buhari as his role model, adding that his country will continue to thank the government and people of Nigeria for standing by them in their moment of crisis.
He also pledged his country’s commitment to improved ties with Nigeria.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after the closed door meeting with Buhari president, Embola said that his country cannot do without Nigeria hence his coming to update the president on the political happenings there.
“We should not forget that Nigeria leads the Contact-Group for Guinea-Bissau and of course also because of the weight of Nigeria in the comity of nations and that is why I’m here to inform Mr President of development in that country.
“And also to thank Mr President because the time when almost everybody abandoned us, it was Nigeria that remained with us and supported us, assisted us until today when we have started to have stability in the country.
“We are here to develop further relations between the two countries not only in the context of South-South Cooperation, in the context of ECOWAS but also bilaterally between the two countries.
“And it is in that context that my President asked to ask President Buhari to also come and visit Guinea-Bissau because Nigeria is our privileged partner,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that Guinea-Bissau has been in political crisis with frontline politicians tussling for struggle since August 2015, following the removal of the then Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira by the country’s President Jose Mario Vaz.
President Vaz later replaced Pereira with 44-year-old Embalo, a former military general who had also served in previous administrations in the country.