Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to support Guinea-Bissau and keep the West African nation politically stable as it attempts to move on from a divisive presidential election.
Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who visited Buhari at State House in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, had sought the leader’s counsel on plans to form a government of national unity and fighting corruption.
Embaló had defeated Domingos Simões Pereira of the African Party for Guinea and Cape Vert Independence (PAIGC) in the December election. Pereira then challenged the victory in court citing massive irregularities but the nation’s Supreme Court upheld Embaló’s win in January.
Embaló, however, faces a challenge in governing the country and delivering on his election pledges, such as tackling widespread poverty, as Pereira’s PAIGC holds a majority party in parliament.
The government of national unity is likely to be a solution to solve this political impasse and lower tensions in a country which has witnessed nine coups or attempted coups since independence in 1974.
Embaló said that his administration had seen that there were numerous challenges facing the country which will need “tremendous” assistance from Nigeria.
“Problems of Guinea Bissau are problems of Nigeria. I have come to you as your son. I need your help and assistance to make the people happy. I will not let you down, neither will I put you in any difficult situation,” Embaló said.
Buhari, on his part, complimented Embaló on his political acumen in getting the opposition to join the proposed unity government and assured him of his help.
“I will cooperate and help in every way possible,” President Buhari was quoted as saying by his spokesperson.
Buhari also commended Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, the current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for his work in the sub-region and keeping him informed of the latest events there.
ECOWAS had previously vowed to keep supporting authorities and Guinea Bissau citizens to consolidate democracy and promote peace and stability essentials for its socioeconomic development.
The regional bloc had threatened to impose sanctions individuals who would not contribute to political stability.
Guinea-Bissau is one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries where more than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line and the economy is dependent on a main export, cashew nuts.