Zim, Nigeria to revive JPCC VP Chiwenga

Lincoln Towindo in ABUJA, Nigeria

Zimbabwe and Nigeria will soon convene their second high-level Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) a development geared to enhance trade and economic collaboration between the two countries.

This was said by Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga who was here representing President Mnangagwa to witness the inauguration of Nigeria’s 16th leader, President Bola Tinubu, yesterday.

The last JPCC between Harare and Abuja was held in 1989.

In an interview after attending President Tinubu’s swearing-in ceremony at the Eagle Square in central Abuja, VP Chiwenga said the Second Republic was determined to transition relations between the two countries towards enhanced economic cooperation.

He said while Nigeria has faced challenges with its security situation, there was scope for heightened engagement with Zimbabwe, building on the countries’ deep-seated relations dating back to pre-Independence days.

“As you heard from the now former president Muhammadu Buhari and president Bola Tinubu, they were having challenges as a nation,” said Dr Chiwenga.

“Yes, they had their challenges in their democratic system. 

“They were faced with insecurity challenges because of the Boko Haram and the terrorists organisations which were playing havoc in the country.”

He said, in spite of the challenges, Zimbabwe was determined to enhance cooperation with the West African country and the biggest on the continent.

“We have encouraged and emphasised again to our ambassador here that we need to now go ahead and resuscitate the JPCC between our two countries for trade and for economic cooperation.

“There are things that Nigeria would require from our country and there are also things that we require from here in Nigeria. 

“Now they are growing quite fast; as you see they have now completed the biggest refinery in Africa here and it is not going to be producing just petrol, but other by-products as well. 

“So these are the area where we will be seeking cooperation.”

Turning to Nigeria’s latest democratic transfer of power, VP Chiwenga said the country’s transition was seamlessly executed.

“The seventh democratic transition in Nigeria was quite an interesting event. This is now their fourth republic under a democratic system.

“I was quite impressed by the way they have done their handover, which was quite perfect.

“It is something which we pray and hope that this kind of understanding and this type of governance is perpetuated to infinity.”

Earlier, the Vice President joined other leaders drawn from over 50 countries to witness a colourful transfer of power, attended by thousands locals at a packed Eagle Square.

Security was tight around central Abuja, where security check points had been put up at most road intersections. 

In his inaugural address, president Tinubu said his administration will strive to unite all Nigerians.

“The principles that will guide our administration are simple: Nigeria will be impartially governed according to the constitution and the rule of law.

“We shall defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality that threaten the peace and stability of our country and our sub-region.

“We shall remodel our economy to bring about growth and development through job creation, food security and an end to extreme poverty.”

Other leaders who attended the event include, presidents Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana), George Weah (Liberia) and Paul Biya (Cameroon) among others.

Mr Tinubu, candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, won the February 25 presidential election, garnering 37 percent of the vote, beating rivals Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party) who polled 29 percent, and Peter Obi (Labour Party) 25 percent.

Meanwhile, VP Chiwenga travelled back home last night.

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