FREEPRESS – Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday evening received visiting President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at his Akinola Aguda House, official residence, Abuja.
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.
During the meeting, according to a statement midnight Sunday, the two leaders also highlighted the critical role that Nigeria and Ghana play as the “centrepiece” of ECOWAS and the West African sub-region.
While extending his good wishes to President Muhammadu Buhari, President Akufo-Addo also thanked Prof Osinbajo for receiving his delegation on a special day, when Nigeria was commemorating Eid El-Fitr.
He said 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 are extremely excited about the ECOWAS sub-region and hope that we will be able to do a lot together.”
Both leaders pledged to intensify bilateral cooperation for the benefit and development of the sub-region.
Members of President Akufo-Addo’s delegation included Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, and Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah; and officials of the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier, Prof Osinbajo hosted a delegation of religious and traditional leaders and senior Government officials to commemorate Eid El-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
In the midnight statement by senior special assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, the Acting President stressed the importance 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, the Acting President 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 reiterated 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 which was led by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello, included Imams from the National Mosque, Abuja; Representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); the Aso Villa Chapel; and Traditional Rulers from the FCT.