Speaker, House of Representative Mr Femi Gbajabiamila during a zoom meeting with the new Speaker of the Ghanian Parliament, Mr Albert Bagbin. Photo: Ibrahim Shehu
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and the new Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, 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.
Mr 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, namely the Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments (CoSAP), saying that last year they worked together to advocate debt relief.
He further 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.
Mr Gbajabiamila 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.
“I look forward to working with you. There are a lot of issues for both our countries, that, I think through Parliamentary Diplomacy and backchannel 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.
Gbajabiamila said COSAP would have its inaugural meeting this year in Nigeria where hopefully they will be able to concretise on that issue and address other issues going forward for this year.
On his part, Bagbin said he welcomed the idea of having a better relationship with the Nigerian Parliament and that he was ready to reciprocate the Nigerian Speaker’s visit so that they would discuss issues.
He also applauded Gbajabiamila for coming up with the idea of CoSAP, which he described as a noble project.
The two Speakers agreed it was important to meet sooner rather than later and concluded with an agreement to meet in Abuja before the first half of this year.