…African speakers to meet in Nigeria this year
The speakers of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and his Ghanaian counterpart, Mr. Albert Bagbin, have agreed to strengthen parliamentary relations in a bid to find lasting solutions to challenges such as the trade dispute involving some Nigerian traders in Ghana. The two speakers reached out to each other during a zoom meeting they held on Friday. Gbajabiamila told his counterpart that the two countries were like siblings and should continue to explore the avenue of parliamentary diplomacy in addressing shared challenges, adding that there was much both could learn from one another.
The Nigerian speaker also introduced the project he initiated with five other African Speakers, the Conference of Speakers of African Parlia-ments (CoSAP), saying that last year they worked together to advocate debt relief. He stated that this year, African Speakers and Heads of Parliaments were expected to gather in Abuja, to explore how they could work better together to tackle collective challenges.
While congratulating the Ghanaian Speaker for his success at the recently contested polls, Gbajabiamila said while he worked very closely with the predecessor, he looked forward to doing the same with Bagbin in continuation of the age-old tradition of solidarity between both nations. The Nigerian Speaker updated his Ghanaian counterpart on his visit to Ghana late last year in an effort to douse tensions and extract commitments from the Ghanaian government over the trade dispute. He said he would want the discussions on the matter to continue under the new Ghanaian Speaker.
He said: “I look forward to working with you. There are a lot of issues for both our countries, that, I think through Parliamentary Diplomacy and back channel discussions, we can resolve for the people of both countries. “I’m sure you are aware of a couple of them, including the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria in terms of our traders and residents over there and yours over here too. “I think the onus rests upon both of us to try and resolve whatever issues there are. We started on this trajectory last year with the former speaker and we made very significant inroads and headway. “I visited Ghana, I met with some of your ministers, including Mr. President and far-reaching decisions were made and we are expecting outcomes of a report from your Minister of Trade.