Liberia Jubilates As Football Star, George Weah, Becomes 25th President

The inauguration of former football star George Weah as the President of Liberia on Monday created scenes of joy and jubilation marking the country’s first peaceful democratic transition since 1944.

See photos below:

President Buhari Heads To The Gambia For ECOWAS Mediation Mission

President Buhari Heads To The Gambia For ECOWAS Mediation MissionPresident Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia and Bamako, the Malian capital from January 13 to 14, 2017.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

In Banjul, President Buhari, as the Mediator in The Gambia, is scheduled to meet with President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and the President-elect Adama Barrow to continue dialogue on the political situation in the West African country.

The President will be joined by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and the immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama, who is the co-mediator of The Gambian mission.

Later on January 13, President Buhari will travel to Bamako, Mali to participate in the 27th Africa–France Summit.

The Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence, convened by French President Francois Hollande, is aimed at strengthening cooperation between France and African countries in the areas of peace and security, economic partnership and development.

Recognising the role played by France in the successes so far recorded in the implementation of the regional initiative against terrorism, President Buhari will reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to global efforts on the war against terror and underline the need for improved collaboration to address the menace of terrorism in the region.

President Buhari will use the opportunity of the summit to underscore the efforts government is making to improve Nigeria’s business environment to attract more foreign direct investment.

The President will be accompanied by Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defence.

Buhari, Other ECOWAS Leaders To Visit Gambia Again

muhammadu-buhari-and-sirleaf-johnsonNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, Presidents of Sierra Leone and Liberia will visit Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, on Wednesday, in another push for him to hand over power to the winner of the presidential election.

The decision for a second visit was reached at a meeting of West African Leaders held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

It had in attendance, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Sirleaf Johnson; Ghana’s John Mahama and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall.

The leaders discussed the Gambian presidential election outcome, where President Jammeh is refusing to step aside after losing an election.

Jammeh has been in power since a 1994 coup, but he lost a December 1 election to businessman Adama Barrow. He has contested the results in a move condemned at home and abroad.

President Buhari will lead the mediation team to Gambia, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who briefed reports after the meeting, said.

“They agreed on the determination to resolve the Gambian political crisis in a manner that at every step of the way, conforms with the constitution of The Gambia and respects the will of the people of Gambia.

“They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that has been reported in respect of security in The Gambia, in particular the closure of some of the radio stations and media houses, arrests that have been taking place and also the refugee situation that is being created with the mass exodus of a large number of people to the interior and to neighbouring countries.

“In view of this, the meeting agreed that a certain number of presidents will visit again, in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia,” he said.

Committed To Resolution

A spokesman for the Nigerian presidency, Mr Garba Shehu, had said on Friday that President Buhari, as “the chief mediator of the crisis” is committed to “ensuring that the logjam is resolved”.

Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the December 1 election, shocking Gambians who have lived through his rule since he took power in a 1994 coup, and triggering celebrations in the streets.

But a week later he changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased by “foreign influences” and vowing to hang on despite regional and international condemnation.

Jammeh says ECOWAS has no right to interfere in Gambia’s internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme Court.

Jega Confident Logistic Challenges Will Be Cut Off During Polls

jegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed confidence that the decentralisation of distribution of election materials for the 2015 elections would cut off logistic challenges at the forthcoming polls.

Professor Jega said this at a meeting with the former President of Liberia and head of the AU delegation, Professor Amos Sawyer.

Professor Jega told the African Union (AU) election observers in Abuja that this method was not used during the 2011 general elections, hence the late commencement of accreditation and voting at polling units across the country.

The issue of logistics had always posed a major challenge at the polls.

Professor Jega admitted that there were challenges in the methodology of distribution which spiraled into widespread agitations from the electorate.

He added that the electoral body was still growing and would plug all loop holes in future elections.

Jega also urged election officials to ensure that counting of ballot papers after the voting process is done transparently in the presence of local and international observers. He has also warned security personnel against any form of intimidation.

Professor Jega received a letter from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who promised full support to the nation at this time.

INEC has almost concluded the distribution process nationwide less than 48hours to the polls.