President Buhari congratulates Gambian President-elect, Adama Barrow

*Says conceding defeat by President Yahya Jammeh commendable

*As former security guard takes power in The Gambia

The President-elect of The Gambia, Mr. Adama Barrow, has been congratulated by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory in the country’s December 1 presidential election.

Barrow, of Sunni Islam, had moved to London in the early 2000s where he studied for a degree in real estate, while working as a security guard to finance his studies.  He has since been Chief Executive Officer of Majum Real Estate, The Gambia, which he established in 2006, after graduation, a position he occupied until recently when he was chosen by a coalition of seven opposition parties as their endorsed candidate for the 2016 Gambia presidential election.

President Buhari, through a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, also saluted the spirit of statesmanship displayed by the out-going President of The Gambia, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, by conceding defeat, noting that such uncommon gesture is crucial in calming fears of unrest in the West African nation.

While expressing delight at the gallantry shown by President Jammeh, President Buhari enjoins President-elect Barrow to be magnanimous in victory.

The Nigerian leader also commended Gambians for peacefully exercising their democratic right to freely choose their leader and called on all stakeholders to maintain the peace.

President Buhari said he looked forward to a smooth transition of power and working with the incoming President of The Gambia to deepen existing cordial relations between both countries.

Official results had shown on Friday that opposition candidate Adama Barrow had pulled a comfortable win in The Gambia’s presidential election thereby putting an end to the 22-year old rule of Alhaji Yahya Jammeh.

Jammeh had conceded defeat, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said as Gambians began to take to the streets to celebrate the biggest upset in the West African nation since Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup.

“It’s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,” a Gambian, Alieu Momar Njie, told reporters.

Barrow won 54.54 percent (263,515 votes) while Jammeh took 36.66 percent (212,099) and third party candidate Mama Kandeh 102,969 votes (17.80 percent) in the Thursday poll, the IEC said.

Turnout was around 65 percent.

Jammeh, who once said he would govern for a billion years if God willed it, was attempting to win a fifth term with his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

Born 16 February 1965, Adama Barrow, the President-Elect of The Gambia, is of Sunni Islam and a politician from the United Democratic Party.

Barrow was born in Mankamang Kunda, a small Jimara village near Basse. He first attended the local Koba Kunda Primary School and then Crab Island Secondary School in Banjul before receiving a scholarship for Muslim High School.  After graduation, he worked for Alhagie Musa & Sons and rose through the ranks until he became sales manager.

Barrow then moved to London in the early 2000s, where he studied for a degree in real estate, while working as a security guard to finance his studies.

Barrow returned to The Gambia following his graduation. In 2006 he established Majum Real Estate and has since been Chief Executive Officer of the company.

In 2016, Barrow was chosen by a coalition of seven opposition parties as their endorsed candidate for the 2016 Gambia presidential election.  He went on to defeat the long-term incumbent, Yahya Jammeh, in a shocking result.  He will be sworn in about sixty days from his election, an event that will mark the first peaceful transition of power since The Gambia declared independence in 1965.

Barrow has two wives and five children. He is a devout Muslim and often invokes Allah in his speeches.

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