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ECOWAS Parliament Sustains Push Towards Direct Election

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, has intensified efforts geared towards the direct election of members into the sub-regional parliament.

Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, while addressing parliamentarians at the opening of the 2021 Second Ordinary Session of the Parliament in the Nigerian Capita city Abuja said the move which is yielding positive result as consultation is in top gear is a basic requirement that must be fulfilled to establish sustainable democracy in the region.

“I wish to report to you that we are making significant moves in our quest for direct election of members into the ECOWAS Parliament. You may wish to recall that during the 2nd Extraordinary Session in Winneba, Ghana, we requested His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to serve as champion of the project.

“Recall also that we requested His Excellency, Mohamadou Issoufou, former President of the Republic of Niger and former Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, to serve as Chief Advocate, while His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former President of the ECOWAS Commission, former Secretary-General, Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the former Special Representative for the Secretary General and the Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa was requested to serve as Assistant Chief Advocate.

“Having been assured of their Excellencies concurrence, we set out to address the following key areas:

“The modalities for the conduct and financing of the election of Members to the ECOWAS Parliament;

“The electoral code for the election; as well as the proposal for the code of conduct for candidates in the election,” he said.

The Speaker who few weeks before now, he led a delegation on a study visit to the Republic of Niger pointed out that discussions were held with the President of the Republic of Niger who also doubled as the Assistant Chief Advocate for the direct election of members into the ECOWAS Parliament.

He said the party brainstormed on the possibility of attaining democratic reform and setting the Parliament up as a truly democratic institution.

“We also used the visit to sensitize the Nigerien authorities on the mode of election and facilitated deliberations on the strategy to have it achieved.

“This quest is not only a democratic quest; it’s a requirement that must be fulfilled to establish sustainable democracy in the region.

“I am, therefore, humbly pleased to make use of this glorious opportunity, to call on Your Excellency, President Mahammadu Buhari, to please consider granting this advocacy your fullest support. We are convinced that with your support, we are on our way to safe landing. Your Excellency, the Vice President is kindly entreated to convey this modest request of the ECOWAS Parliament to His Excellency,” he said.

On the session otherwise known as the “Budget Session,” Tunis said he expected that Members of the Parliament will translate the vision with which they approached the exercise into goals that were consistent with regional and global best practice.

The Speaker said, included in the process should be the formulation of the policy framework and identification of the sequential measures of structural change that need to be taken to achieve the goals of sustainable growth and development which the Parliament should ensure that the allocation of resources reflects real priorities.

“It is also not enough that the budget surmounts the immediate threats brought upon us by COVID-19, it should also advance efforts to make progress on other fronts and priorities, which our region continues to value: democracy, rule of law, peace and conflict resolution, the fight against terrorism, poverty reduction and climate change.

“We note that peace in our region can only be consolidated and sustained if we bring development to our people.

“Therefore, in the exercise of our oversight responsibility as enshrined in Article 7 Paragraph C of the supplementary Act, we must seek for greater accountability and transparency in the execution of the budget,” he said.

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