Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday evening welcomed the visiting President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, to Akinola Aguda House, his official residence.
During the meeting that followed, the two leaders highlighted the critical role that Nigeria and Ghana play as the “centrepiece” of ECOWAS and the West African sub-region.
President Akufo-Addo thanked Acting President Osinbajo for receiving his delegation on a special day, when Nigeria was commemorating Eid El-Fitr. He said that his visit was part of an ongoing tour of the sub-region to “take stock of what’s going on, and to renew relations.”
Acting President Osinbajo on his part thanked the Ghanaian President for visiting Nigeria, adding, “We’re extremely excited about the ECOWAS sub-region and hope that we will be able to do a lot together.”
Discussions between the two leaders touched on the forthcoming African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, ongoing negotiations on the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), and the revitalization of the Ghana-Nigeria Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation. Both leaders pledged to intensify bilateral cooperation for the benefit and development of the sub-region.
The Ghanaian President also extended his good wishes to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Members of the President Akufo-Addo’s delegation included Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway; Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah; and officials of the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Osinbajo hosted a delegation of religious and traditional leaders and senior government officials to commemorate Eid El-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
In his remarks at the ceremony, he stressed the importance and necessity of interfaith unity as a prerequisite for guaranteeing the peace and prosperity of Nigeria.
According to him, “what the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has always emphasised is the unity of the faiths. There is every reason for us to work together as brothers and sisters despite our different faiths.”
Speaking further on the imperative of unity across Nigeria’s ethnic and religious lines, Mr. Osinbajo noted: “When you look at the hundreds of thousands of our people everywhere in this country — and I’ve been around this country — poverty is the same. It doesn’t wear a different face whether you’re poor in Lagos, or you’re poor in Sokoto or you’re poor in Aba, poverty is the same; hunger is the same, wherever you are. If you’re hungry you’re hungry, your religion doesn’t matter. Your ethnicity doesn’t matter. And that is why for us, it is so important that we work together to make sure that our country is able to take care of millions of its people.”
He recalled and reiterated the message of unity in President Buhari’s Eid El-Fitr message to Nigerians, in which the president urged that Nigerians “should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations.”
According to the acting president, “We are a geopolitical power because of our strength in numbers and our diversity. That’s why we’re a geopolitical power. Our relevance comes from our size, the size of our market, and our diversity, and the fact that anywhere you go, Nigerians are probably the smartest people you’ll ever meet anywhere.”
The delegation that paid him the annual traditional Sallah Homage was led by the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, and included Imams from the National Mosque, Abuja; representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria; the Aso Villa Chapel; and traditional rulers from the FCT. Also present were senior government officials, including the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Ade Ipaye; members of the National Assembly; security chiefs, including the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector-General of Police, Director General of the Department of State Services, and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; FCT Area Council Chairmen, and senior officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA.