Former President John Dramani Mahama has left Accra, Ghana for Abuja, Nigeria today [Monday] to attend an ECOWAS meeting on the mediation for the ongoing political crisis in The Gambia. Mahama leaves for the meeting just a day after handing over to Ghana’s new President, Nana Akufo-Addo who won the last presidential election.
Mahama had earlier been appointed a co-mediator for the Gambia crisis the alongside the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari who was appointed chief mediator. The appointment was made at the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
The decision for the former President to continue with the assignment was reached in an ECOWAS meeting held on the sidelines of the his hand-over ceremony held on Saturday.
It was reported that President Akufo-Addo sent across the message to Mahama via a telephone call on Sunday. The new President expressed confidence in the former president to assist Nigeria’s President Buhari in tackling the raging political crisis in the Gambia.
President Yahye Jammeh of The Gambia has been in office since after forcefully taking over power in 1994. However, he was narrowly defeated by opponent, Amadu Barrow in an election held on December 1, 2016. This came as a great relief to the Gambians who have since been under the dictatorship of the sit-tight Jammeh.
Jammeh who readily conceded defeat surprisingly revoked his concession some weeks later, and has since refused to vacate office.
The ECOWAS who has been intervening in the issue had earlier sent a delegate led by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and then President John Mahama of Ghana to talk Jammeh into conceding, but their meeting yielded no positive results.
Following the futile efforts to get Jammeh vacate office, the West African Leaders deployed a Standby force to the Gambia with the charge to uphold the results of the election.
However, since the ECOWAS has chosen peaceful mediation over military intervention in the issue, they are still making efforts to convince the stiff-necked Jammeh to step down. But so far, no headway has been made through the political impasse.