The Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS Parliament Ad-hoc Committee investigating allegations of marginalisation against Nigerian candidates in the botched recruitment attempt at the sub-regional parliament has assured of protecting Nigeria’s interest.
Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Sidie Mohammed Tunis had last August ordered the immediate suspension of the staff recruitment and set up a panel to investigate alleged malpractices in the recruitment process.
The suspension followed allegations by the Nigerian delegation at the parliament that the country’s candidates were marginalised in the recruitment. The Nigerian representation to the bloc had threatened to withdraw its membership as its citizens were marginalised at the parliament in employment and promotions.
Speaking on the committee on Recruitment saga at the ECOWAS parliament at the ECOWAS parliamentary seminar on Sequencing ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Towards Single Currency, with the theme: “ECOWAS Common Currency and the Inter Bank Payment System as Promoters of Regional Trade,” holding in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, Ndume said the investigations are still in progress.
“I don’t want to be pre-empt the committee but all I can assure you is that Nigerians are the one crying, I am a Nigerian if I am on a committee, you should know that Nigeria’s interest will be my first priority. It is just that Nigeria is big. Whatever that is given to us, it will look small.”
“The truth of the matter is, there are issues in the parliament with the staff members that have been there for several years without promotions. This is because some of these vacancies are being replaced without appropriate documentation or following due process. In most cases, there are no vacancies.
“Let me tell you, compared to what I am doing, ECOWAS has no money to give Ndume. I am not someone you can buy at this age. How much can you pay me, people know me for saying things as they are.
“If Nigerians are being short changed, I will be the first person to stand up against that,” the lawmaker said.
According to Ndume, the committee is still investigating, “but we noticed some things that are going on at the ECOWAS Commission, not the parliament, that are not right and that is what we are investigating,” he added.
He also assured that the dream of the ECOWAS common currency is achievable with unity of purpose among member countries.
“The more united we are, that will be better for Africans. In that way, we can take economic measures in order to draw the monetary policy closer to us. Yet we are divided by the decision makers. Most of our leaders in Africa have this inferiority complex of the colonial master’s servants by trying to serve them first.
“That does not give them the liberty to make decisions of their own by putting the interests of their colonial masters first before the interest of their country especially the Francophone countries. The French government is benefiting and draining them. Why would you give somebody independence and you are controlling his money? Africans are partially independent, the earlier the better for us,” the Senator said.