Tinubu seeks help of Senegalese President to bring Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso back to ECOWAS


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday received President Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal at Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja.

By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has appealed to his Senegalese counterpart Bassirou Faye to join him in persuading Mali, Niger and Bourkina Faso to return to the fold of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The three countries had withdrew from ECOWAS in January following sanctions imposed on their countries after the military took over their governments.

The Three military rulers of the three countries aannounced their immediate withdrawal in a joint statement.

They have refused to return to the regional bloc despite the lifting of the sanctions.

Tinubu, who is the Chairmam of ECOWAS appealed to his much younger Senegalese counterpart to join the bid to persuade the three countries to return to the regional bloc.

The Nigerian President referred to them as “those other brothers.”

“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,” the Nigeriam President said when he received Faye at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

Tinubu, however, emphasised that democratic governance, democratic values, and constitutional order are sacrosanct and must be protected.

“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?

The Nigerian President added 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,” Tinubu said.

In addition, the Nigerian President called for a common front among African nations in the fight against challenges of terrorism and human trafficking bedevilling them.

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He said that West African nations must realign their purpose and structure to effectively address the challenges confronting the region such as terrorism, banditry, human trafficking and poverty.

He advised that leaders in the region must make the people the point of convergence in governance in order to achieve the essence of democratic governance.

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

“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.

“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,” the President said.

In his remarks, Faye acknowledged Nigeria and Senegal’s shared values, ideals, and challenges, emphasising 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, the Senegalese President said that with Tinubu’s wisdom and experience, relations among member states could be strengthened 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.

“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.

“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,” Faye said.

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