Obasanjo Optimistic Of Improved Relations Between Nigeria, South Africa
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is looking forward to improved relations between Nigeria and South Africa soon despite the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.
He hinged his hope on next month’s planned talks between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
The former Nigerian leader who visited Ramaphosa in Pretoria earlier in the week told reporters in Abeokuta yesterday that he discussed the xenophobic attacks with his host.
He said: “one of the major things we discussed in this issue of xenophobia or Afrophobia. I took the opportunity of being in South Africa about three or four days ago to actually pay a courtesy call on President Cyril Ramaphosa and he quickly granted me the opportunity.
“One good thing that the president said to me is that there is so much at stake and whatever mistake we have made, we have to correct it. And I think that was a very good statement and I know that he meant it because, he immediately said look, what can we do or should we do?
“I think that is all we must be doing and be saying and I said my joy is that President Cyril Ramaphosa is ready to do what needs to be done to stop these incidents and to put the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa on the right track.
“One of the things they are going to do between South Africa and Nigeria is, they are going to have what we established in my term that we called Bi-lateral commission.
“During my time, it was at the second echelon level of vice-presidents, deputy presidents, but, now they have raised it to the president’s level and I understand that our own president would be there within the first week of October”.
Obasanjo said that his own investigation showed that contrary to allegations in some quarters, many Nigerians living in South Africa are not drug peddlers or criminals but businessmen and professionals who have helped in contributing to the economic development of South Africa.