The Nigerian statesman, who arrived in the country last Thursday tooffer support to The Gambia’s ongoing constitutional review processand facilitate stakeholder’s efforts to forging a workable national consensus,was speaking to journalists during a courtesy call on The Gambian leader, Adama Barrow at Mankamang Kunda in Upper River Region.
“Normally, I’ve been a president before and it is good for any country when you looking to your constitution to setup a national dialogue. Somehow when I was in office (president) in 2014, I also setup a national dialogue to look into certain areas to reshape the country. Every country does that from time-to-time and The Gambia is unique.”
He explained further;“ I came in The Gambia this time around to work with international ideas at the instance of the president and stakeholders. It is not the president bringing us but the president consulted with other stakeholders and asked us to come and have a conversation about the new constitution.”
According to a press statement signed by Goodluck Jonathan special adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, the former President who was invited by the President of Gambia, Mr. Adama Barrow, is expected to deploy his experience and goodwill as a well-respected international statesman towards advancing the constitutional review process and enhancing the progress of the continuing national dialogue, in line with the expectations of Gambians.
The former Nigerian president indicated that they know the kind of setting The Gambia has before, saying this is major transition, which he said, has to be managed in a way that young people who are coming will be in a position to manage the country better.
Meanwhile, the ongoing Gambian transition involves the drafting of a new constitution that has to be passed by the National Assembly before being submitted to a national referendum.
“So we are here to offer some technical assistance in one way or the other. Accidentally the president is out of Banjul touring the country and we thought it is necessary to come and pay a courtesy call before we start meeting with actors and other key stakeholders”
However, Dr.Goodluck Jonathan couldn’t hide his love for the Smiling Coast, saying the other reason for coming to The Gambia is because of the love he has for the country since his secondary school.
“I was a good geography student and whenever we read about The Gambia and Senegal, it was always an interesting geography then. So since then I’ve an interest in The Gambia.”