By John Ikani
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria’s relationship with the twin-island Central African nation of Sao Tome and Principe has grown over the years and would even now be further strengthened.
The Vice President said this on Saturday at the Presidential Inauguration of the new President of Sao Tome and Principe, Mr Carlos Manuel Vila Nova, in Sao Tome city.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria’s relations with São Tomé and Principe growing, says Osinbajo at presidential inauguration.’
The event which held at the country’s Parliament Building, was attended by leaders from Africa and Europe.
According to Akande’s statement, Osinbajo spoke with journalists after the swearing-in. Osinbajo said, “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 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.”
The Vice President also noted that both countries are now “looking at strengthening bilateral relations because of the strategic partnership between them.”
He added, “We have a joint development arrangement, especially, with respect to the oil and gas sector where we share a common interest.
“We are also looking at strengthening relationships in other respects [such as] hospitality, agriculture and all of that.”
While felicitating with the new President, Osinbajo expressed Nigeria’s readiness to re-establish stronger ties with the island country.
Later, the newly sworn-in President Vila Nova held his first bilateral meeting as President with Osinbajo at the Presidential Office in Sao Tome city, where both leaders exchanged pleasantries and expressed readiness to deepen diplomatic and economic relationships.
Osinbajo was accompanied on the trip by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, and some members of the House of Representatives, including Hafiz Kawu, as well as Nigeria’s Ambassador to São Tomé and Principe, Christopher Chiejina.
Osinbajo has since returned to Abuja.