President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had to use “strong-arm tactics” to get former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh out of office.
Jammeh, who re-contested Gambia’s presidential election on December 1, 2016, had refused to step aside even after failing to win the re-election.
Buhari said: “We had to go through those actions because it was the only option for Nigeria and ECOWAS”.
He recalled that in spite of all entreaties, Jammeh refused to accept the outcome of the election he superintended and was widely accepted as credible.
“We thank God for the role He allowed us to play in the Gambia.
“We believe in multi-party democracy. In Africa, it is absolutely necessary but for the system to work and one to come out of it clean, there is need for patience.
‘‘Patience on the part of leaders is also necessary in view of ethnic and religious diversities that prevail. Leaders must be patient, hardworking and resourceful.’’
While comparing experiences with the new president of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, Buhari said one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria was unemployment.
“Sixty per cent of the 180 million people are under 25 years. They all wish for a secure future. Those of them who are educated feel they are more qualified for employment.
“We have studied the problem and are doing our best to stabilize the situation.
‘‘We took over from a party that had been in power for 16 years. During those years, the country earned an unprecedented amount of money as revenue, never seen at any time before,” he stated.