By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – SPEAKER of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu yesterday that Mali’s progress to the Semi Final at a time of crisis in their land in the ongoing African Cup of Nations in South Africa was particularly symbolic for the country and the West African sub region.
Ekweremadu who is also Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President however congratulated the West African nations of Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana on their qualification for the Semi-final stage.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Senator Ekweremadu noted that ECOWAS will intensify its fight against terrorism and divisive tendencies in the West African nation.
Reacting to the performance of the sub-region in the football tournament so far, Senator Ekweremadu noted that it was particularly heart-warming that out of the eight nations that made it to the Quarter-Final, seven were West African nations, while the remaining part of the football tournament, namely the Semi-final and the Final would be an entirely West African affair.
He said such soul-lifting performance not only affirmed the sub-region as the powerhouse of African football, but served as motivation for regional integration and development.
He said, “And at this point, it matters less who eventually carries the trophy since it is already West Africa bound, but it matters more that our teams have made us proud and also added impetus to our collective efforts and resolve to overcome our regional challenges, especially the ongoing struggle against poverty, insecurity and terrorism.’’
Senator Ekweremadu wished the teams a hitch-free Semi Final and Final, urging them to play like brothers and without rancour.