Nigeria's president elected chairman of ECOWAS

Nigeria's president elected chairman of ECOWAS

Bola Tinubu says threat to peace in sub-region has reached an alarming proportion and calls for collective action from bloc’s member states to address this

By Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu

NIGERIA, Kano (AA) - Nigerian President Bola Tinubu was elected chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday.

He was chosen for the position at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau.

Tinubu, the latest entrant into the exclusive club of heads of state in West Africa, enthusiastically accepted the honor on behalf of Nigeria with a solemn pledge to bear the responsibility of the office and run an inclusive administration of the regional organization.

A press statement from Dele Alake, special adviser to the president on special duties, communications and strategy, which was made available to Anadolu said that Tinubu warned that the threat to peace in the sub-region had reached an alarming proportion with terrorism and an emerging pattern of military takeover that demanded urgent and concerted actions.

He said insecurity and creeping terrorism were stunting the progress and development of the region.

Tinubu called for collective action from member states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonized to actualize the dreams of ECOWAS.

“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilization of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” he said.

The president noted that ECOWAS had developed a security architecture that covers a wide range of areas that involved kinetic and non-kinetic operations, including preventive diplomacy. There is also the Regional Plan of Action on the Fight Against Terrorism 2020-2024 as well as the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force on the Fight Against Terrorism.

"I will ensure that we immediately harmonize these plans and mobilize resources as well as the political will towards the actualization of the initiatives. As terrorists do not respect boundaries, we must work collectively to have an effective regional counterterrorism measure,” he said.

On his election as chairman in his first time participating at the summit, having just been elected president of Nigeria, Tinubu said he was humbled and honored by the move.

"Indeed, I’m humbled and honored by this trust and want to assure you of my unalloyed commitment to provide the necessary leadership with dedication to serve the interests of the community," he said.

To underscore his commitment to regional integration, he declared that he would prioritize political stability, peace and security, regional economic integration and the strengthening of ECOWAS institutions, declaring that democracy and good governance remain the cornerstone of peace and sustainable development.

While decrying the emerging pattern of coups d'etat in West Africa, where soldiers have truncated the popular mandate, Tinubu charged ECOWAS to stand firm in defense of democracy.

"We must stand firm on democracy. There is no governance, freedom and rule of law without democracy. We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage, but it is the best form of government.

"There is no one here among us who did not campaign to be a leader. We didn't give our soldiers resources, we didn't invest in them, in their boots, in their training to violate the freedom of the people. To turn their guns against civil authorities is a violation of the principles upon which they were hired, which is to defend the sovereignty of their nations. We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs," he warned.

"We must strengthen our democratic institutions and ensure the respect for human rights and the rule of law. I will enhance engagements with the countries in transition to ensure their quick return to democratic rule."

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