President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo has acknowledged the fact that Nigeria has always stood by his country in its 20 years of instability.
“You have assisted us with our elections. You have assisted in stabilizing Guinea Bissau. I assure that your support for democracy in this country and the entire sub-region is much appreciated by the people, who as you have seen trooped to greet you.”
President Embalo, who received in audience, President Muhammadu Buhari during his one-day State Visit to the embattled West African country today, December 7, said that he will follow in the footsteps of Buhari to ensure free and fair elections in his country and leave on time when his tenure ends.
He thanked President Buhari for assisting the country with 70 doctors who perform the dual duties of training the Guineans and performing surgeries in the country without their citizens having to travel to Portugal.
President Embalo spoke on the “Amilcar Cabral Award” which was conferred on Buhari with a major street named as “Muhammadu Buhari Boulevard” the Guinean leader said that the two events reflected the most solemn moment of the country and a recognition of the stabilizing role President Buhari is playing in the life of his country.
He said that one of such roles also including the defence of democracy and its values throughout the sub-region.
President Embalo promised to re-invite President Buhari to commission the new Presidential Villa, now under construction even after leaving office, and the edifice is to be named Muhammadu Buhari Villa.
President vowed that Nigeria is committed to work with Guinea Bissau and other countries towards sustaining and strengthening democracy and good governance in the sub-region and the entire African continent.
Buhari, who appreciated the conferment of the country’s highest national honour, the “Amilcar Cabral Award” on him and the naming of a major street in Bissau, the capital city, after him, said: “in the course of this one-day official visit to Bissau today, we had an opportunity to review the state of our bilateral relations, and to share concerns on the challenges facing us in the region.
“I very much appreciate the naming of two roads in my honour, as well as being conferred with the highest honour of Guinea Bissau.
“I am personally grateful to you, your government and the people of this fine country. I believe all of these were possible because of the persevering stand of Nigeria in ensuring that Guinea Bissau remains on the side of Democratic Governance.
“Nigeria’s strong stand through the ECOWAS, in insisting and pushing for the full implementation of the Conakry Peace Agreement by imposing sanctions on nineteen (19) individuals who impeded the implementation of the Conakry Agreement helped to restore peace that now prevails in Guinea Bissau.
“Guinea Bissau and Nigeria have come a long way. Our cordial relations date back to Guinea Bissau’s liberation struggle from Portugal when Nigeria supported the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.
“Nigeria has on its own, as well as through ECOWAS, intervened at critical periods in the life of this country, making immense direct contributions as well as, by supporting international efforts on the peace process in Guinea Bissau. This fact has further reinforced our relations, enhanced understanding and trust between our two countries.”
The President congratulated the people of Guinea Bissau for rallying around Abhay , a name he fondly calls “the energetic and visionary President Embalo.’’
He encouraged the people of Bissau-Guineans to support the entrenchment of democratic values in their country, saying:
‘‘You should always ensure that the electoral process is conducted in free and fair conditions.”
Nigerian officials that received the country’s merit award are: Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari and Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency.
The others are Sarki Abba, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters and the State Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure.
President Buhari returned to Nigeria today and immdeiatley flew to Daura, his hometown for rest.