By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Sao Tome and Principe is an important and strategic partner to Nigeria.
The vice president said that Nigeria’s relationship with the twin-island Central African nation had been growing over the years and would be further strengthened.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, said the vice president represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Inauguration of the new President of Sao Tome and Principe, Mr Carlos Nova, on Saturday in Sao Tome city.
The event, which held at the country’s Parliament Building, was attended by leaders from Africa and Europe.
Other leaders who graced the swearing-in ceremony included the President of Portugal, Mr Marcelo Rebeto, the President of Guinea-Bissau, Mr Sissolo Embalo, the Vice President of Angola, Mr Bonito De Sousa, among others.
The inauguration was also witnessed by the immediate past President, Mr Evaristo Carvalho, and the Prime Minister of São Tomé and Principe, Mr Jorge Jesus.
Osinbajo spoke with newsmen after the swearing-in ceremony.
“We think that São Tomé and Principe is an important partner and we have a very strategic relationship which is why we are here not just to felicitate with the new president, but to re-establish a relationship.
“A relationship which by the way has been growing from strength to strength over the years.”
He said that both countries were looking at strengthening bilateral relations because of their strategic partnership.
According to the vice president, both countries have a joint development arrangement especially with respect to the oil and gas sector where they share a common interest.
“We are also looking at strengthening relationships in other respects, such as hospitality, agriculture and all of that,” he said.
He felicitated with the new president and expressed Nigeria’s readiness to re-establish stronger ties with the island country.
Osinbajo was accompanied on the trip by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada.
Some members of the House of Representatives including Hafiz Kawu, as well as Nigeria’s Ambassador to São Tomé and Principe, Mr Christopher Chiejina, also attended the event.
Nova, afterwards, held his first bilateral meeting as President with Osinbajo at the Presidential Office in Sao Tome city
Both leaders exchanged pleasantries and expressed readiness to deepen diplomatic and economic relationships. (NAN)