President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday called on the new management team at ECOWAS commission led by Dr Omar Alieu Toure to complete the review of ongoing reforms aimed at strengthening the sub-regional body.
He made the call in his welcome address at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja.
The President said: “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.
“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 criminality in the sub-region as enhanced safety will sustain national governance efforts that would ensure the growth and progress of our sub-region,” the President said.
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.”
President Buhari paid tribute to President Kuffour Addo-Nana of Ghana, 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 organization, 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.”
He 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.
Buhari further stated: “Let me specifically thank you, brother Heads of State and Government, for the confidence you reposed in me to be the Regional Champion on COVID-19, an opportunity that brought me to work closely with sectoral Ministers, ECOWAS Commission as well as the West Africa Health Organization to develop regional mechanisms that mitigated the effects of the COVID-19.
“Without doubt, the commitment shown by member-states yielded very positive results as West Africa emerged as one of the regions with the least mortality rate, not only on the continent but globally.”
The President, however, lamented that despite the efforts of ECOWAS leaders towards deepening democracy, the region suffered some unpleasant setbacks:
“Regrettably, some of our gains, especially in fully democratising our governance space have faced and continue to face severe challenging threats from the unconstitutional change of government as witnessed in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea,” he regretted.
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