Gambian President Adama Barrow, on Tuesday revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement to the former President Yaya Jammeh frightened him into accepting to relinquish power last year.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents, after a meeting with President Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Barrow said the voice of the Nigerian leader coupled with the pressure from other African Leaders compelled Jammeh to surrender power to him despite the initial reluctance to do so.
Barrow said “When we met in Mali, he (Buhari) took a decision as a leader in a closed door meeting. He made one statement that changed everything, that if the ex-Gambian President wants to challenge the sub region, he is welcome. This was his words and that made a big difference as a leader”.
Barrow noted that “that leadership role was very important not just for The Gambia but for Africa because the problem was an Africa problem with an Africa solution”.
The Gambian leader said he was in Abuja to thank the president for standing by the people of The Gambia at their critical moment of need.
“We are very grateful and that was why we came to say thank you. There is a saying in my country that if you want to thank a farmer for a good job, you have to visit him at his farm and that is why we are here,” Barrow said.
He emphasized that his visit to Nigeria “is very important to us. We have always wanted to say thank you when Nigeria gave us all the support during and after the impasse.
Nigeria has been supporting the Gambia for a long time in different areas like technical assistance in the area of education, judiciary”.
Asked to elaborate on the deal that saw off Jammeh from office as The Gambia President, Barrow said basically, the deal involved ECOWAS, UNDP and the international community adding that the deal was to mediate and “for him to accept the will of the people, exit to allow us assume office.
This was the deal, he accepted to go on exile because we couldn’t guarantee his security. This was the deal”.
In a brief remark, President Buhari said “We did our best in the most critical time, hopefully now the president will raise his team and we will raise a corresponding team and we will seat together and see how we can draw a political programme that will complements each other’s effort on development. So this is the next line we are going.