By Victoria Ojeme
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has called on the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to quickly harmonize and ratify the ECOWAS protocol on good governance to check the incidences of coups in the region.
President Buhari made the call during the 62nd Ordinary Session of the Summit of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja and added that there is the urgent need to fully bring into operation, the regional action plan in the fight against terrorism and other acts of criminality in the sub-region.
He said “Regrettably, some of our gains, especially in fully democratising our governance space, have faced and continue to face severe challenging threats from unconstitutional change of governments as witnessed in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.
“The Commission must therefore, work more assiduously to complete the review and harmonisation of the Protocols on Good Governance and Democracy, as this would enable our sub-region to sustain our collective efforts to deepen not only Democracy but her dividends through good governance to the Community citizens.
“Related to this is the urgent need to fully bring into operation, the Regional Action Plan on the Fight Against Terrorism and other acts of criminalities in the sub-region as enhanced safety will sustain national governance efforts that would ensure the growth and progress of our sub-region,” Buhari said.
According to him, this move would guarantee enhanced safety aimed at sustaining national governance efforts that would ensure the growth and progress of the West African sub-region.
He called on the new management team at ECOWAS Commission led by Dr. Omar Alieu Toure, to complete the review and harmonisation of ongoing reforms aimed at strengthening the sub-regional body.
His words: “The Commission must, therefore, work assiduously to complete the review and harmonisation of the Protocols on Good Governance and Democracy, as this would enable our sub-region to sustain our collective efforts to deepen, not only democracy but her dividends through good governance to the community citizens.”
Welcoming fellow regional leaders, President Buhari noted that this year’s summit was the 8th that Nigeria, under his leadership has hosted.
“All of those occasions, including this one, have brought honour and respect to my country as Nigeria continues to be at the centre of sustained solidarity and collaborative efforts to maximise our relationships in order to address common challenges to our countries and the community’s citizens,” he said.
The president paid tribute to his Ghanaian counterpart, Kuffour Addo-Nana, the immediate past Chairperson of the Authority for his services and congratulated President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau, on assuming the leadership of the sub-regional organisation, expressing his confidence in the latter’s ability to “discharge his responsibilities to the sub-region, as well as meet the expectations of the Community citizens.”
Buhari thanked fellow leaders for the support he received as the Regional Champion on COVID-19 at a time the pandemic ravaged the entire world, ascribing the successes recorded in the region to their cooperation.
The president, however, lamented that despite the efforts of ECOWAS leaders towards deepening democracy, the region suffered some unpleasant setbacks.