By Linda Ike
The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has assured that ECOWAS will be fully involved in the forthcoming elections’ observation across Nigeria
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis gave the assurance at the opening of the 2023 Extra Ordinary session of the fifth Legislature of the Parliament in Guinea Bissau
Tunis said that the parliament is working closely with the ECOWAS Commission and has signed a memorandum appointing observers who will be in Nigeria for the polls.
He further added that ECOWAS has been working with the authorities of Nigeria, stakeholders both in Government, and Civil Society Organisations, the electoral commission in preparation of the 2023 elections.
He noted that Nigeria is the region’s biggest democracy, assuring that a large chunk of its observer mission will be deployed for the polls across the country.
According to the Speaker, the Community Parliament is expecting
peace in Nigeria as well as free, fair and credible elections, stressing that the whole region will be affected if anything goes wrong in Nigeria.
Tunis.stated, “In conformity with the established framework for election observation, we are working very closely with the ECOWAS Commission to ensure the scrupulous implementation of the provisions of Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, relative to the holding of elections. Our Observers will be available to provide the necessary support to the Joint ECOWAS Mission, in anticipation of free, fair and transparent elections in the various countries.”
ECOWAS Parliament also declared 2023 an election year as Nigeria, Liberia and Siera-Leone are preparing to conduct their general election, preceded by the Legislative elections in the Republic of Benin.
“This year has been tagged “Elections Year” in the region. In a matter of weeks, our biggest democracy, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will be holding Presidential and Legislative elections. In a few months, the Republics of Sierra Leone and Liberia will do the same. These have been preceded by Legislative elections in the Republic of Benin” he said.
The Speaker also condemned the brutal killing of innocent souls in Burkina -Faso and other part of the region.
He said, “Let me emphatically condemn the brutal killing of Innocent civilians including children in the west of Burkina Faso and other parts of the region where similar menace exists. No expression of displeasure and no religious loyalty justify the killing of Innocent people. It is barbaric, evil and must be condemned by all- meaning citizens of this region.
It was also disclosed at the session that the IMF predicts that global growth will slow at 2.7 percent in 2023 and many countries will experience recession. These have been attributed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the hike in cost of living and economic slowdown in China due to the latest hike in COVID-19 cases.
“This leaves poorer countries, like most of ours, with no option but to act aggressively to heighten monetary policies and build more multilateral cooperation to address our economic volatility.
“It is a fact that economic stagnation would usually influence the finding and implementation of projects, programmes and activities of ECOWAS; we must therefore act within our discretion to draw attention to the need to start economic choices not only in the ECOWAS institutions but in our respective member states,” Tunis added.
In his opening remarks, Speaker of the Guinea Bissau National Assembly, Cipriano Cassama urged the Parliament to implement new policies and infrastructures that will speed up development technologies within the West African market.
According to Cassama, These development plans and major policies in the process of decision taking, are placed on the shoulders of parliament.
“Communities should invest more in educational programs in a way of improving the protection of the environment and health sector.” he stated.