Well focused , determined and committed to the core of making the necessary decision for the people in the region, Members of the ECOWAS parliament have gathered in Abuja, Nigeria for its first ordinary session for the year 2023.
Addressing the session, The Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament Rt. Hon. Sidie M. Tunis said parliamentarians in the region have a responsibility to foster peace in the region.
Speaker Tunis said such can
only be possible by supporting the structures and respecting the policies
and protocols which have already been indicated in their protocols.
The ECOWAS Speaker also stressed the need for collective and immediate actions which he pointed out are needed to tackle the challenges the region is faced with.
He Named some of them as poverty,
inequality, climate change and a host of others.
Additionally, the ECOWAS Speaker indicated that mutual accountability in pursuit of solutions to the looming challenges in the region is key.
According to Speaker Tunis, The application of these principles is critical to the advancement of humanity.
” I hope we can find these very useful and work in concert for the good of our region and the world at large”, he added.
Speaker Tunis stated that ECOWAS parliament still believe that direct election is possible and ECOWAS parliamentarians are very proud of
the awareness they have created around it.
“I strongly believe that sooner
rather than later, when the time is right for the first vote to be cast for ECOWAS Members of Parliament, this legislature will be remembered for its invaluable role played in getting it achieved”, he added.
The ECOWAS parliament, he mentioned is very concerned over the pace at
which the transitional processes are unfolding in Mali, Guinea and Burkina
Moreover, he stated that the parliament is equally worried about the proliferation of terrorist activities in the Sahel, which has resulted into the killings of innocent lives.
Additionally, he stated that the parliament is closely following events in Sierra Leone and Liberia, especially so as they prepare to hold Presidential and Legislative elections in June and October respectively.
“I extol the ECOWAS Commission, through its Directorate of Political Affairs and the African Union for conducting a
Joint Technical Pre-Election Fact-Finding Mission to Sierra Leone to assess
the country’s level of preparedness for the electioneering process, I thank the government of Sierra Leone for its commitment to upholding the
principles of democratic elections and and commend all stakeholders for
being committed to the democratic process”, he added.
For Liberia he commend
ECOWAS and the United Nations, under whose auspices the Farmington
Declaration was signed, committing all Political Parties to a violence-free
The parliament he stated will continue to engage with both countries within the
framework of ensuring that both elections are peaceful, free, fair and
“Legislative elections are also expected to be held in Guinea Bissau in June of this year, following months of dissolution of parliamentary activities and may I also use this platform to applaud the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the peaceful conduct of the presidential, federal legislative, governorship and state legislative elections” he said.
He also congratulated President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his victory at the polls and expressed best wishes on behalf of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament for his success as he prepares to take up the responsibilities and challenges
of his office.
Speaker Tunis also and specifically made reference to Muhammadu Buhari for sticking to his term limit and facilitating a smooth transition to his successor. Moreso, I thank the aggrieved parties for seeking redress in the court of law, Such is the democracy we crave for, and I am grateful that Nigeria, our biggest democracy, is leading by
He noted, the Parliament remains the face of representative democracy
in the West African Sub Region, he disclosed .
According to him alignment with the vision of the Parliament will proudly boast the continued execution of the mandates as provided
for by the texts, “Your commitment and dedication are, therefore, highly
commended”, he hailed members of the parliament.
Speaker Tunis who appreciated special guest at the opening ceremony was also quick to pay special homage and recognition to Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, Senate President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to him Senator Lawan has over the period demonstrated absolute
commitment towards supporting the ECOWAS Parliament.
“Your Excellency, I am happy to observe your constant availability and benevolence towards the ECOWAS Parliament. Most importantly, I wish
to appreciate Your Excellency for the commitment demonstrated in
ensuring that the works of the Parliament are conducted seamlessly”, he noted.
He at the same time thanked the President of the ECOWAS Commission Omar Alleu Touray for his invaluable support to the ECOWAS
Parliament, ” We are truly grateful for the continued support and for placing
this facility at our disposal”, said Speaker Tunis.
The convening of the first ordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament for the year 2023 is pursuant to Article 21.1 of the Supplementary Act Relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the
ECOWAS Parliament, which provides that Parliament shall meet twice a
year in Ordinary Session.
He pointed out that their sessions always provide a platform to deliberate and strengthen their position on issues of regional and continental importance.
“For years, we have done so embracing
collaboration with other ECOWAS Organs, Member States, Development
Partners and Civil Society Organizations, which we believe has given a
great measure of success in the execution of our duties”, he noted.
We are mindful that over 20 years since the inauguration of the First Legislature, the ECOWAS Parliament has not achieved its goal
of being a full-fledged Legislative body.
Nevertheless, this august body
can be very proud of its achievements thus far. We have made sufficient
advocacy for the election of Members by direct universal suffrage, which
we believe is vital towards giving this Body more enhanced power and
build our capacity to adequately exert our influence as a truly legislative
It can recalled as provided for in Article 32 of the supplementary Act, the President of the ECOWAS Commission shall present a general report on the implementation of the Community Work Program to the Plenary.
As often, the House will be updated with developments in the Community, which is usually followed by debates, expressed opinions and recommendations.
Meanwhile, it is expected that parliamentarians over the first phase of their delegation will deliberate issues in the best interest of the region and its people.