Niamey - Niger — The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho has paid an visit to Niamey during which he met with various officials and interacted with political stakeholders to discuss the current political process in Niger.
The President, who was received by the President of the ruling military regime, Squadron Leader Djibo Salou used the opportunity to explain the ECOWAS response to the humanitarian crisis occasioned by the food crisis in the country. Specifically, the President met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Mahamadou Danda, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigeriens in the Diaspora, Mrs. Aminata Djibrilla Maïga Toure and the President of the National Advisory Council. Mr. Amadou Marou.
He also met with members of the Nigerien Civil Society Organizations and the diplomatic corps accredited to Niger. He used the opportunity to express satisfaction with the evolution of the political process resulting in the creation of Institutions such as the National Advisory Council, the National Communication Observatory and the Constitutional Council of Transition. Their discussions were dominated by the food crisis, the evolution of the ongoing political transition in the country and sanction the imposed by ECOWAS on Niger.
On the sanctions, the President said this could only be lifted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government which imposed it and whose next meeting will take place in June, « If by then, progress are made towards the return to normal constitutional order in Niger, the Heads of State and Government will assess the situation and decide on whether to lift these sanctions or not. We do hope that progress will be made by June, especially in terms of setting the programme and duration of the transition», he added.
He told the various officials that the ECOWAS Commission would like to know the programme and duration of the transition because « experience has shown that if a transition is longer, it is most likely that forces will be created and develop within the process that come interfere with it.' But the President of the National Advisory Council said that the duration of the transition will only be known within the coming days, assuring that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be in place before 5 May 2010. «All the Nigeriens are convinced that the transition should not be long and it will not be too short either.
A long transition is characterized by uncertainties, blunders or uncontrolled events. », Mr. Marou added. Ambassador Gbeho, who was accompanied by Commissioners Mahamane Toure for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Dr Adrienne Diop for Gender and Human Development and Mr. Salifou Ousseni for Agriculture, also paid a visit to former Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja, and described him as doing well and being treated well with his family.
The visit coincided with the inauguration of the seven-member Constitutional Council for the ruling Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy which has the mandate to draft the texts relating to the Electoral Code, the Political Parties Charter and the new Constitution. The Council has 45 days to submit the report of its work to the ruling Council.