By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday received his predecessor in office, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, at State House, Abuja.
Dr Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to the Republic of Mali, briefed the President on the political situation in the West African country, as a corollary to efforts by West African leaders to restore stability to the country.
Recall that President Buhari and four other ECOWAS leaders had visited Bamako, Mali, last month, followed by a virtual extraordinary summit of the sub-regional body.
Dr Jonathan, who was in Mali from Monday to Thursday, last week, recounted his meetings with the stakeholders, including political and religious leaders, Ambassadors of US, France, Russia, Germany, European Union, and other important personalities key to peace and cohesion in the country.
The main opposition group, M5 has continued to insist on the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a position not acceptable to ECOWAS, which insisted only on democratic process in change of power within its jurisdiction.
“We told them that no international organization, including the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), and others, would agree with their position. We continued to emphasize the need for dialogue,” former President Jonathan stressed.
He added that the Constitutional Court had been reconstituted and inaugurated, while vacancies in the Supreme Court had been filled, thus sorting out the judicial arm of government.
President Buhari according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, thanked Dr Jonathan for what he called “the stamina you have displayed” on the Mali issue, and counselled further consultations with the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic.
Among the delegation at the Presidential Villa include General Francis Behanzin, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Dr.Remi Ajibewa.
It will be recalled that Dr Jonathan was appointed Special Envoy to lead the mediation team to midwife a peace deal in the Malian political impasse.
West African subregional leaders had been making moves to avert a full-blown civil war in the country, requesting all sides in the crisis to make some comprise in a bid to end hostilities.
Efforts made so far by ECOWAS mediator, Dr. Jonathan to bring together Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and leaders of the opposition movement for talks have failed.
The opposition leader in the country, Sumaila Cisse who was detained has among the conditions for the resolution of the political crisis had demanded the resignation of President Keita.
However, ECOWAS leaders had kicked against the resignation call but recommended government of national unity, which the opposition rejected.
Mali has been witnessing political crisis as a result of parliamentary elections since April.