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Tinubu calls for an alignment of purpose and structure in West Africa

…Faye says, “Hand in hand, we can grow together, discuss with our brothers, convince them to come back”

 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has called for an alignment of purpose and structure in West Africa to effectively address the challenges confronting the region.

 

President Tinubu receiving President Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said West Africa must work together to defeat the hydra-headed problems of terrorism, banditry, human trafficking and poverty.

He advised that leaders in the region must make the people the point of convergence in governance, noting that the essence of democracy is lost when the people are not the focal point.

The President emphasized that democratic governance, democratic values, and constitutional order are sacrosanct and must be protected.

Tinubu urged his Senegalese counterpart, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, to collaborate and meet those other brothers and persuade them to come back to the Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS.

Recall that some of the ECOWAS countries under the military regime, Mali Burkina Faso and Niger had recently announced their resignation from the West African regional body.

The President also emphasised that critical institutions and precepts, like the judiciary and the rule of law, must be respected and observed for the sustenance of democracy.

“Constitutional democracy is what Senegal proved to the rest of the world and Africa. It is a joy to have you here; to meet the hope and aspiration of our youths. You fit in perfectly well.

“A critical time it is in the history of constitutional democracy, particularly in West Africa. What you have embarked upon, a struggle couched in freedom, is remarkable,” President Tinubu said.

The President described Nigeria and Senegal as brotherly nations, recounting both countries’ long history of cooperation.

“We are brothers. We have a shared interest in democracy. To make democracy sustainable in the interest of our people, we definitely must work hard.

“I am glad that you are a shining example of patience, perseverance, and commitment to democratic values.

“We must partner to make our people the focus of our democratic commitment. Your belief in the sovereignty of Africa is shared by all of us. But how can we work for our people and make them the focus of our democracy if we are violating the rule of law and promoting unconstitutional takeover of government?

“As the Chairman of ECOWAS, I am inviting you to collaborate and meet those other brothers. To persuade them to come back to the fold.

“We will continue to work together. We share good backgrounds, and we will continue to embrace and promote democratic governance. We must be able to partner and build the freedom we believe in – in economic growth, development, and other spheres of governance. It is left for us to provide assurance to our people and walk our talk.

“We must defeat human trafficking; we must defeat terrorism, banditry, and poverty in our society. That must be our focus and commitment,” President Tinubu said.

In his remarks, President Faye acknowledged Nigeria and Senegal’s shared values, ideals, and challenges, emphasizing that both nations have always had good relations since the 1960s.

“The good relations we have and the relations between our private sectors should be beneficial to our countries,” he said.

The Senegalese President called for the reactivation of the Nigeria-Senegal joint commission to strengthen bilateral relations across the areas of diplomacy, trade, and other spheres.

Speaking on ECOWAS, President Faye said that with President Tinubu’s wisdom and experience, relations among member states can be strengthened and bolstered for the advancement of the community.

“ECOWAS is the beacon of successful regional integration in Africa and globally. It is something we owe to the founding fathers of the community, and I have no doubt that you want to continue this legacy of integration. The union is going through a rough patch, but not everything is lost.

“I know I can rely on your wisdom and experience, as the leader of this great African nation, and the more recent example of Senegal; so that together, hand in hand, we can grow together, and that we can discuss with our brothers and convince them to come back into the fold. To come back and share our common democratic values and what we stand for.

“Your wisdom and your democratic values should be an asset to that vision, and my youth and determination can also be an asset. If we come together, with all these assets and advantages, I am convinced we can open a window of opportunity to discuss.

“United, we are stronger. Faced with common challenges, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and all other challenges, we need to show resolve to confront these challenges so that economically we can thrive and satisfy the wishes of our people,” the Senegalese President said.

 

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