(Abuja, February 18, 2017): Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., one of Liberia’s five representatives to the ECOWAS Parliament, has appealed to his regional colleagues to appropriately recognize the specific roles that other ECOWAS leaders played in the resolution of The Gambian crisis.
A release from the Embassy of Liberia in Abuja says Representative Snowe emphasized the particular recognition of President Ellen Johnson’s leadership role as Chairperson of ECOWAS, backed by her regional colleagues in ending the impasse in The Gambia.
The Liberian lawmaker spoke midweek in Abuja during the closing session of the Parliament’s Extraordinary Session when the regional body adopted a draft resolution giving specific recognition to all who helped restored peace to The Gambia.
“The role of ECOWAS in the Gambia crisis cannot be over-underestimated, especially the role of first, my President, who is the Chair of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS, Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, under whose good leadership calm was brought to the Gambia, and the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senegalese Government and then the other regional colleagues. The issue in The Gambia would have gone out of hand had ECOWAS not played the role that it played. I will suggest, Mr. Presiding, that we take time to reconstruct that resolution and give credit to those to whom credit is due…… and place the necessary emphasis on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as Chair of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS”, the release quotes Representative Snowe as saying.
He also recognized the role of the former Ghanaian President, John Darama, in convincing former President Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power.
Representative Snowe recalled that the decision to intervene in the crisis in The Gambia was reached at the Summit of the Heads of State of ECOWAS held in Abuja late 2016 when he formed an official part of the Liberian Government delegation with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“And from that time, I closely followed developments in The Gambia. I even made one of the trips to The Gambia as we sought peace at the time”, Representative Snowe who is also the regional parliament’s Vice Chair of the Committee on Administration, Finance, Budget Control and Audits, added.
He continued, “I’m a testimony to the role that ECOWAS Heads of State played. Let me begin with President Muhammadu Buhari. I am pleased to inform this plenary that President Buhari flew from Nigeria to Liberia, picked up our President, then flew to Sierra Leone, picked up the President of Sierra Leone and then they flew into the Gambia and then it was a whole day of negotiations.”
According to the release, other regional parliamentarians also joined Representative Snowe’s assertion.
Honorable Abdoule Saine, one of the Gambian Members of Parliament noted: “I will not do justice without thanking all those who restored peace on the soil of my homeland…… I’ll definitely commend the then President, Yahya Jammeh for all that he has done in that country and for the love of his people.”
The Gambian parliamentarian commended the President of the ECOWAS Parliament, President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, President Buhari and other regional leaders who he said went ‘back and forth’ to The Gambia, as well as the Nigerian Parliament which had offered an asylum to the former Gambian leader just to ensure that peace was restored to his country.
Also speaking, Honorable Sadiq Ibrahim, one of the Nigerian members of Parliament at the ECOWAS Parliament, also added: “Mr. Speaker, I commend the people of Senegal and I want Senegal to remain with us as brothers. I have no objection, Mr. Speaker, to giving President Macky Sall from Senegal whatever accolades. We can inscribe in here whatever superlative adjectives we can. It doesn’t take away anything from Nigeria. It doesn’t take away anything from the fact that the people of The Gambia recognize the fact we have sent in not only troops, but we also sent in our air force and warships. The cost of sending in warships from Nigeria to The Gambia, Mr. Speaker, we can only estimate the cost. But honor should be given to those whom honor is due…..Nigeria remains the eldest brother and we will continue to support any other country that wants to deepen democracy.”
The Extraordinary Session was the first for the year 2017 which climaxed on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. The regional body is expected to reconvene for its Ordinary Session in Abuja from the 8th to the 10th of May, 2017, the release concludes.