Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was approached by President Muhammadu Buhari to mediate in the political crisis in Guinea Bissau because of his wide political and military experience, the Presidency has disclosed.
Chief Obasanjo was also the preferred choice to mediate in the crisis in that country because of his strong commitment to the unity of Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted Mr. Buhari as saying this at an audience with the President of Guinea Bissau, Jose Mario Bavz at the sidelines of the just concluded Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“I sent President Olusegun Obasanjo because he is the only person living or dead that has ruled Nigeria for 11 years.
“I served under him as a military Head of State. He has a strong commitment to Nigeria and Africa.
“That was why I looked for him and asked him to collaborate with President Macky Sall of Senegal to stabilise the situation of Guinea Bissau”, the statement quoted President Buhari as telling the Guinea Bissau leader.
While appreciating President Bavz’s expression of thanks for Nigeria’s support during the crisis in his country, President Buhari told his guest that the “least Nigeria could do is what we did to stabilise your country”.
“You can count on our support at all times”, he assured the people and government of Guinea Bissau.
Earlier, Bavz had said he came to thank Buhari for everything Nigeria had been doing for his country, adding that the opportunity to do so never came until the FOCAC meeting in South Africa.
“I am not in a position to assist you but I pray for you every day. I want to take you as my big brother and share from your experience”, President Bavz told his Nigerian counterpart.
He also thanked President Buhari for sending former President Obasanjo as a Special Envoy to restore peace to his country.
According to the statement, the Guinea Bissau leader also noted that “Nigeria is part of the solution and stability” of his country.