ECOWAS has vowed to ensure that Adama Barrow, winner of last month’s presidential poll, is inaugurated tomorrow.
Time is fast running out for Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, as the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has ordered him to leave office by midnight today, January 18, 2017. Thisday newspaper of Nigeria yesterday, January 17, 2017, reported that failing this, Jammeh will be ousted by force for Adama Barrow, winner of the December 1, 2016 presidential poll, to be inaugurated tomorrow, January 19, 2017, as envisaged by the Constitution.
Barrow has been in neighbouring Senegal since last weekend after attending an ECOWAS leaders’ mini-summit in Bamako, Mali. The expectation is that if Yahya Jammeh fails to step down today, a regional standby force will tomorrow accompany Barrow into The Gambia to be inaugurated. Jammeh initially conceded defeat in last month’s poll, congratulating the winner, but later reneged, saying there was fraud. The petition he filed with the Supreme Court will only be heard next May when Justices from Nigeria will be available to complete the number.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on January 16, 2017, refused to hear an application by Jammeh’s APRC party to stop the inauguration tomorrow of Adama Barrow. Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle refused to grant the prayers that would have extended the tenure of Jammeh. The application listed the Chief Justice, who is the only Supreme Court Judge at the moment, as one of the parties. Fagbenle therefore ruled that he could not grant an order against himself. Meanwhile, Radio France Internationale, RFI, yesterday reported that Moroccan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, has been in The Gambian to persuade President Jammeh to hand over power.
In return, the President is understood to have been offered political asylum in Morocco. Last week, Nigerian lawmakers began considering a similar bill to grant political asylum to Yahya Jammeh if he accepted to quit power before January 19, 2017. In the meantime, three of Jammeh’s cabinet ministers – for Foreign Affairs, Finance and Trade – resigned on January 16, 2017. Last week, Information Minister, Sheriff Bojang and Sports Minister, Alieu Jammeh, also resigned.