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Tinubu tasks ECOWAS Parliament on strong ties, unity

President Bola Tinubu has tasked ECOWAS member states to strengthen ties, and reject forces bent on causing division within the community. He made the call…

President Bola Tinubu has tasked ECOWAS member states to strengthen ties, and reject forces bent on causing division within the community.

He made the call at the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, on Thursday in Abuja.

Tinubu, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said regional solidarity was imperative to strengthen the bloc’s resilience and effectiveness.

He emphasised that member states cannot afford to remain passive spectators while the community faces the threat of disintegration.

“We stand united against such forces and are committed to ensuring that our unity remains unshaken. We must ensure that cooperation amongst us is strengthened, with a view to building a sense of common destiny and purpose. No one can do this for us. We must come together.

“To this extent, reinforcing the legitimacy of the decisions taken by the Authority of Heads of State is key in sending a message that ECOWAS is one indivisible body. It is also very important that the executives, on the other hand, show similar confidence in the Parliament, which would indeed deepen democracy in our region.

“Meanwhile, in the midst of ongoing challenges, our partnership can be a driving force for stability, growth, and prosperity in our region,” he said.

The president expressed his support for a proposal pushing for the direct election of members into the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

 Currently, the representatives into the ECOWAS Parliament are chosen from among national parliaments by the parliamentarians.

 But Tinubu said the proposal for a direct election would allow citizens of member states to have a say in selecting their representatives.

 He also called on presidents of countries in the ECOWAS region to respect the decisions reached by the ECOWAS Parliament, saying it strengthens democracy.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, stressed the role of the ECOWAS  Parliament in the stability of the region.

Speaking earlier, the former Speaker, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, said the 5th Legislature witnessed a remarkable display of idealism and courage, which fiercely defended human rights, democracy, the rule of law, transparency, accountability and good governance.

The members of parliament sworn in include 35 from Nigeria and five each from Benin Republic, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leon, and Togo.

Others include eight members from Ghana, seven from Cote d’Ivoire, and six each from Senegal and Guinea.

Mali, Niger Republic, and Burkina Faso are not represented in the sixth parliament due to their announced intention to exit the bloc.

The parliament is composed of 115 seats and each member state has a guaranteed minimum of five seats while the remaining 40 seats are shared based on population.

 

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