Friday, March 9, 2012
How would he be remembered by the Jammeh-Government
The ECOWAS Commission on March 6, 2012 hosted its outgoing President, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho, to a farewell party which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of development partners and staff members.
At the Commission’s Abuja headquarters, the new President, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo who assumed office five days ago, described Gbeho as “a man of honour, a man of duty and a man of experience.”
“His contribution to the integration efforts in West Africa is quite remarkable,” President Ouedraogo said, adding: “ECOWAS is very grateful to him and his team.”
However, Mr. Gbeho might be seen by the Gambia's Yahya Jammeh administration as "an instigator who for once attempted to ruin the peace of the country." For the simple reason that the ECOWAS Commission under James Victor Gbeho accused the APRC-led government of the Gambia of holding sham-elections.
On the eve of the country's presidential elections (Nov. 23, 2011), the sub-regional economic bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced it was withdrawing from its proposed “observer mission to Banjul”.
It said the election process was being held amid a “climate of fear” and that the opposition has been cowed, adding that it will not be “free and fair”, hence the environment under which the process was being conducted fell short of meeting the minimum standards for holding free, fair and transparent elections.
An "unhappy" president Jammeh said Gbeho was not worth responding to when asked his reaction to the statement after he cast his ballot.
The IEC Chairman Mustapha L. Carayol had called ECOWAS liars and says they'll be held responsible if chaos were to erupt as a result of the damning statement issued 24 few hours before Gambians head to the polls.
On Tuesday, President Ouedraogohe expressed gratitude to Ex-President Gbeho “for the numerous achievements realized under his able leadership” and hope that “he will continue to put his talent and vast experience at the service of not only his country, Ghana, but the entire region of West Africa.”
He alluded to the challenges faced by the region two years ago when he assumed office and how the Community was able to overcome them with determination, commitment and cooperation of his team, coupled with the strong support of regional leaders and development partners.
Ex-President Gbeho acknowledged that his tasks were made easier by the strong leadership provided by the immediate-past Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan.
He paid tribute to the Nigerian leader for bringing “his calmness and cool headedness” to bear in steering the affairs of the region, adding that this was an eloquent testimony to Nigeria’s leadership role in West Africa and Africa as a whole.
President Gbeho, a seasoned diplomat, philanthropist and former Foreign Minister of Ghana, joined the ECOWAS Commission in March 2010 to complete the unexpired tenure of his country.
His achievements include the successful steering of the Commission’s transformational agenda that started in 2007 and bringing vitality and new momentum to the irreversible process for the realization of the dream of the ECOWAS founding fathers through the new Vision 2020 for a people-centred regional integration.
Highlight of the farewell ceremony was the presentation of a gift to President Gbeho by the Commissioner for Finance and Administration, Mrs. Khady Ramatu Sacco, on behalf of the Commission.
In his opening remarks earlier, Vice President of the Commission, Dr. Toga Mcintosh, presented the new President and new Commissioners to the guests.
The Commission’s new management team comprises:
President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo
Vice-President Toga Mcintosh
Dr. Lapodini Marc Atouga – Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources
Mr. Hamid Ahmed – Trade, Customs, Industry, Mines and Free Movement
Amb. Ibrahim Ba – Macroeconomic Policy
Mr. Ebrima Njie – Infrastructure
Mrs. Khady Ramatu Sacco – Administration and Finance
Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman – Political Affairs, Peace and Security and,
Dr. Adrienne Diop – Human Development and Gender