President Muhammadu Buhari has sent Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, as special envoy to Guinea Bissau ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in the country.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Sarah Sanda, stated this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that the minister went in company with President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean Brou.
According to Sanda, Onyeama who was also in company with the representative of the Chairman, ECOWAS Mediation Committee on Guinea Bissau, President Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry, met with key stakeholders, including President Jose Vaz.
She said that while receiving the special envoy, Vaz handed over a letter for onward delivery to Buhari, congratulating him on his re-election.
The visit by the ECOWAS team is the 5th so far led by Onyeama as special envoy of ECOWAS Chairman, President Buhari, to engage stakeholders in the country which has been engulfed in a long drawn political crisis.
She quoted Onyeama as explaining after a meeting with Prime Minister Aristedes Gomes that the issues surrounding the blank electoral roll in some areas had been resolved.
Onyeama said that although the elections had been postponed before, ECOWAS Chairman was determined to ensure that all obstacles towards free, fair and credible elections in Guinea Bissau were removed.
“We are sent as Special Envoy of President Muhammadu Buhari who, as you know, is the current Chair of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
“We are here again to find out the situation with regards to the elections. We are happy we met with the President, Prime Minister and Chairman of the electoral commission.
“We were able to see and learn first-hand, the fantastic progress made towards holding the legislative elections on Sunday, March 10. All the technical aspects are fully in order.
“The voters’ electoral roll is now complete; all the 761,000 or so voters are on the roll; the security situation is good.
“The political situation with all the parties is excellent; everybody is fully on board, so it is very heart warming,” he said.
The minister congratulated the president, prime minister, all the political parties and all stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission, for the excellent work that had been done.
He said: “the president has just assured us that definitely come Sunday, March 10, the elections will take place.
“This will be the first peaceful elections in Guinea Bissau for many, many years, so it will be a watershed – a decisive moment in the history of Guinea Bissau.
“We are very hopeful and confident that all the challenges and conflict in this country are very much behind us and we look forward to a brand new future in this wonderful country for the people of this country.”
According to the minister, Nigeria has supported the electoral process in Guinea Bissau with an additional donation of seven vehicles, 350 electoral kits and a cash donation of 500,000 dollars.
He said that Buhari’s interest as ECOWAS Chairman was to ensure that there was smooth transition in Guinea Bissau, and that it would be received with a lot of respect.
According to him, this is owing to the fact that Nigeria has just demonstrated leadership by example by conducting its own elections which have been adjudged free, fair and credible.
Presidential election in Guinea Bissau is scheduled to hold later in the year. (NAN)