ABUJA – Former President of the Republic of Guinea Mr. Alpha Conde has described Nigeria’s President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the biggest pan-Africanist he has ever seen.
Conde who spoke on the heels of the viral video making rounds about Tinubu being a citizen of Guinea Republic said, “Before I met Tinubu, I had noted his accomplishments, right from when he was Governor of Lagos State.
“I see him as a ‘Lion of Africa’ because of his contributions towards the stability and development of Africa. He has always supported African presidents who were pan-Africanists in disposition and others.”
It would be recalled that recently a viral video showing President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a helicopter belonging to the Guinean government surfaced, and the man at the centre of it all, Amb. Ousmane Yara, exclusively revealed to Daily Sun what transpired.
In a chanced meeting with Daily Sun in a highbrow Abuja Hotel on Sunday, April 23, 2023, Yara opened up on the relationship Tinubu, former Guinean President, Alpha Conde and him had.
He also shed light on Tinubu’s special recognition by the Guinean government under Conde.
Yara, a Guinean, who is Ambassador African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, told Daily Sun that the viral video was shot sometime in 2016 when Tinubu visited Guinea as guest of then President Conde during the country’s independence anniversary celebration.
He said that Tinubu, him (Yara) and Sanwo-Olu, who was not governor then, were travelling in the helicopter from Guinean capital to Mamu, in the Fula region of the country, to attend independence anniversary celebration, as, according to him, then President Conde used to move the state function related to the anniversary from region to region every year, when he was in power.
Yara revealed that Tinubu first visited Guinea in 2015 after he hosted former President Conde in Lagos earlier.
According to him, the president-elect’s attendance of Guinea’s independence anniversary celebration in 2016 was his second as guest of former President Conde.
He said: “Through one of Tinubu’s aides at that time, who is now a minister in the government of Nigeria, I facilitated a meeting between President Conde and Tinubu. President Conde was going for reelection, for the second term, in office then in 2015.
“He came to Nigeria to see Tinubu, who organised a dinner in his honour. At the dinner, Tinubu invited many Nigerian businessmen and others.
“President Conde then invited Tinubu to Guinea about one month to the election for his second term. Tinubu honoured the invitation and came with a team of economic experts and businessmen, who took time to discuss with Guinean government officials how the country could better harness its resources for economic prosperity and development.
“Tinubu spent only one day and travelled to London from there, but left the team he came with to continue engagement with Guinean officials on how to transform Guinea. The team and Guinean government officials worked for three days, and came up with an economic roadmap.”
Amb Yara said that thrilled by Tinubu’s support for his reelection and for bringing the team that worked with Guinea officials to chart an economic and development agenda, President Conde invited Tinubu to the independence anniversary in 2016.
“President Conde invited Tinubu to the independence anniversary. Since the official function at every independence anniversary was done in different regions, Tinubu was required to fly from the country’s capital, in a helicopter, to Mamu, where that year’s event held. That was the video being circulated.
“At the independence anniversary celebration, President Conde gave Tinubu the honour and privilege of a president, in appreciation of what he did for him during his reelection bid and towards economic development of Guinea.”
Yara said it was in order to show appreciation to Tinubu that former President Conde gave him a “Special Envoy” status. “Conde recognised Tinubu as a pan-Africanist and saw him as a special envoy,” Yara said.
The AU Ambassador said that governments extend honorary citizenship to important people who may not be their citizens as a mark of recognition of their contributions to socio-economic and political developments in the countries, which does not make such persons citizens of the countries.
Daily Sun findings from Wikipedia is that honorary citizenship is a “status bestowed by a city or other government on a foreign or native individual whom it considers to be especially admirable or otherwise worthy of the distinction. The honour usually is symbolic and does not confer any change to citizenship or nationality.”
Yara said Tinubu, being a friend of Conde, is not strange as individuals and politicians all over the world have presidents as friends.
He revealed that many Nigerian politicians and businessmen were friends of Conde when he was in power, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari, who hosted the former president in Abuja.
Amb. Yara, in a bid to authenticate what he said, put a video call through to former President Conde, who has been living in Turkey since he was ousted from office in 2021.
Conde confirmed that he recognised Tinubu as ambassador extraordinaire (special envoy) of Guinea, while promising to speak in details about the president-elect in due course.
The former president expressed confidence in the ability of Tinubu to do well as president.
He noted: “I am convinced that Tinubu’s leadership will be good for Nigeria. Nigeria is a country other West African nations look up to. I am happy for Tinubu. Anything he may require of me to make his government successful, in my personal capacity, I will willingly do. He helped us in Guinea and I will never forget that. Nigerians should pray for the success of Tinubu’s government because his leadership will be impactful.”
*Source: Daily Sun.