Following a press statement isssued by ECOWAS on 20th December, 2010 which urges Mr. Laurent Gbagbo (in photo), the former President of Cote D’Ivoire to hand over power to Mr. Allassan Outarra, a request which Mr. Gbagbo has refused to adhere to caused ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to convene an extra-ordinary meeting in Abuja, Nigeria to find ways by which Mr. Gbagbo can be forced out of office.
11 Heads of State assembled in Abuja on Friday on the invitation of the Chairman of ECOWAS, H.E Goodluck Egbele Jonathan and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Victor Gbeho to give a final warning to Mr. Laurent Gbabgo with the firm position that if Mr. Gbagbo continues to hold on to power illegally, ECOWAS will have no choice but to remove him forcefully, in an effort to allow the winner of the elections Mr.Allassan Outarra to assume office.
Sierra Leone’s delegation to the Abuja extra-ordinary meeting on Cote D’Ivoire was led by President Ernest Bai Koroma and was accompanied by the Foreign Minister, Mr. J.B Dauda and the Information and Communication Minister, I.B Kargbo.
The Christmas eve meeting on Cote D’Ivoire was treated by the Heads of State seriously, because according to the Chairman Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, the international community expects ECOWAS to provide leadership in resolving the political impasse in Cote D’Ivoire.
The ECOWAS Heads of State believe that it is unacceptable for a country within the sub region to be ruled by two Presidents and two Prime Ministers.The same ECOWAS Authority also believes that Mr. Laaurent Gbagbo lost the elections and should therefore allow Mr. Allassan Outarra to take over power.
the United Nations Secuirty Council earlier in a Press Statement of 20th December, 2010 condemned in the strongest possible terms President Laurent Gbagbo’s attempt to usurp the will of the people and undermine the integrity of the electoral process and any progress in the peace process in Cote D’Ivoire.
The Chairman of the African Union on 6th December, 2010 circulated a Press Release from the African Union to support the United Nations by suspending the participation of Cote D’Ivoire from all African Union activities untill the democratically elected President, Allassan Outarra effectively assume State Power.
Although Mr. Laurent Gbagbo still attempts to perform Presidential duties by usurping the State radio and television, bribing the military to support him and import mercenaries into Cote D’Ivoire to help him stay in office, the international community including ECOWAS believes that he should not continue to stay in office which lead to the imposition of sanctions and travel ban on him and his close allies.
The Heads of State of ECOWAS at their meeting in Abuja on Friday said that Mr. Gbagbo be given one final chance to make up his mind to vacate office.
In the spirit of brotherliness in Africa, three Presidents have been nominated by their colleagues to confront Mr. Gbagbo in Abidjan to encourage him to leave office without delay. The three Presidents can fly back with Mr. Gbagbo, as all ECOWAS countries are prepared to grant him assylum.
Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who played a pivotal role in the discussions supports the ECOWAS,United Nations and Europpean Union positions that Mr. Laurent Gbagbo should hand over power to the man who actually won the elections, Mr. Allassan Outarra.
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