Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard yesterday she posited:  “It was not a shock for us when President Jammeh upon hearing that Nigeria is celebrating its centenary showed up. It’s like both celebrating and attending to cement the relationship. So it’s a thing of honour that he was able to attend the centenary celebration and he didn’t just attend but made a statement. I thank God that the statement he made was very blunt as it affects all of Africa and Nigeria. The statement was talking to us as Africans, to check how we behave, to look more inward in how we can develop our continent, and then letting Nigeria and any other part of Africa know that the other countries in Africa look up to Nigeria. So if Nigeria is having a problem, it means any other African country is also having a problem. 

“President Jammeh made a statement that dealt with issues as they are; as they concern Africa and Nigeria. It was a very timely visit and it was a visit to show solidarity with fellow African countries and to show that they believe in Nigeria and that if you are ahead, we’ll follow you. It was a message he gave to everybody and that was a very big opportunity to pass such a message because almost all African countries were represented there. Even countries whose presidents couldn’t attend sent diplomats. The United States was also represented and even the president of France. So the message was for the whole world because it was a message sent to everybody. It was a big plus to us and a big plus to The Gambia. President Jammeh came forward to fight for Africa and also speak out for the development, peace and security of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. There’s no support that we can get from The Gambia other   than the one we are already getting. If President Jammeh is speaking for us, then the entire Gambia is speaking for us. He is already fighting for the security of Nigeria and that of the entire Africa. He doesn’t have to go and fight before we realise he’s fighting.”

The diplomat who served as mayor of the federal capital, Abuja, and member of the House of Representatives added: “We all know how close Nigeria is to The Gambia and also how close The Gambia is to Nigeria. Generally, it is the interest of Nigeria to ensure that all other African nations are working hard towards development and are also at peace. In this area of interest, we ensure that all countries are attended to. I regard the visit of President Jammeh to Nigeria for the centenary celebration as a reciprocal kind of love. Nigeria has shown love to The Gambia and The Gambia is reciprocating it. Last year in November, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan came to The Gambia on an official visit. It wasn’t like he just bounced into President Jammeh. It was an official visit as a way of meeting with his colleague and discussing issues at their high level.” 


                 Read more in Tueday’s edition of The Diplomat


By Sainey Darboe & Lamin Njie