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Coalition Member States Why The Gambia Needs Buhari To Resolve Political Impasse

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BEVERLY HILLS, December 14, (THEWILL) – The coalition of seven political parties that produced Adama Barrow as the President-elect of The Gambia has expressed their earnest expectation that Muhammadu Buhari will deploy his vast experience, and join other African leaders to resolve the political logjam in the West African country, where the defeated incumbent President is unwilling to relinquish power.

Recall that the country's President, Yahya Jammeh, upon his defeat at the election in that country, conceded to his challenger, Barrow, a real estate mogul, who won with 222,708 votes (43.3%), while Jammeh polled 208,487 (39.6%).

“I'm calling you to wish you all the best, the Gambian people have spoken and I have no reason to contest the will of Almighty Allah,” Jammeh had said.

However, The Gambia's president later turned round to reject the election result calling for thorough investigation, disclosing that, “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election.

“I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process. I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”

Buhari on Tuesday morning arrived Banjul, The Gambia to meet with the country's president over the logjam. He was there along with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is the current Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra-Leone.

A statement issued on Wednesday by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed that the high-level team, in series of meetings that lasted the whole of Tuesday, met with President Yahya Jammeh, twice, conferred with Barrow, consulted with security chiefs, members of the diplomatic community, leadership of the electoral commission, and many other interest groups.

The consensus was that President Jammeh needed to respect the result of the December 1 election, which he had earlier accepted, congratulated the winner, only to recant a week later, calling for fresh polls “to be conducted by a God-fearing electoral commission”.

The Joint ECOWAS-AU-UN team, made of President Buhari, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia (current Chairperson of ECOWAS), President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, outgoing President John Mahama of Ghana, and Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, (UN Special Representative for West Africa), encouraged Jammeh to reconsider his rejection of the election results citing “tallying errors” and his call for new elections.

Jammeh was also urged to hand over power “within constitutional deadlines, and in accordance with electoral laws of The Gambia.”

President Johnson-Sirleaf said discussions on The Gambian impasse would continue, as ECOWAS leaders meet in Abuja this Saturday.

Speaking with newshounds during the high-level ECOWAS /AU/UN Joint Mission to The Gambia, one of the coalition members, Hamad Bah, according to the statement issued by Adesina, explained that the tiny West African country, among other reasons, needs the experience of Buhari because he is a former military ruler like Jammeh and understands the latter's thinking.

He was quoted as saying: “We need the experience of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria in many ways. Like President Jammeh, he is a former military officer, so he knows how the military thinks, and would be able to talk to him appropriately.

“Again, President Buhari was in the opposition in Nigeria for about 12 years, before he won election in 2015. So, he also knows how the opposition thinks. He can feel what we feel. We are quite glad that President Buhari is here, it gives us a lot of hope.”