By Linda Ike
The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament Hon. Sidie Tunis has tasked member states preparing for national elections to be proactive towards addressing electoral issues.
Addressing Parliamentarians at the opening of the ECOWAS Parliament Parliamentary Seminar in Lone, capital of Togo, Tunis said that the past glory of the Parliament is being threatened by numerous crisis.
He called on Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra-Leone preparing for national elections to put in place early warning mechanism on election preparedness.
He said, “In endeavouring to boost our understanding of the institutional role and powers granted to us by the Supplementary Act, it is very important that we remain sensitive to the challenges confronting our achievements in regional integration, especially those brought upon us by the global economic crisis and internal conflicts.
These include economic hardship and increase in the cost of living, climate change, which is affecting our countries in many ways, and accountability in our governance system. All these require our attention.
“Furthermore, as we strive to rebuild our economies in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we must also take very decisive steps at fighting corruption.
“Corruption continues to undermine our development and slow down economic growth in ECOWAS Member States. The Time for accelerated action is now”.
The Speaker.continued, “we meet today, the gains we have painstakingly made as a region are being threatened. Threats to democracy and the rule of law, combating corruption, the realization of the African Free Trade Area, eradicating poverty, promoting human rights, and advocating for gender equality, loom across the region;
“As we confront these daunting challenges, it would require innovative strategies that ensure each Community Institution performs its role in line with the competencies conferred upon it. In doing so, we are overwhelmingly convinced that the ECOWAS Parliament, which reflects the full representation of the peoples of all 15 ECOWAS Member States, is the ideal platform to share experiences about workable ways by which solutions can be found.
“It is expected that this seminar will increase the understanding of Members of Parliament of the extent of their enhanced powers and take full ownership of them.
” It is also expected that Members will be informed about the institutional reforms currently ongoing in the ECOWAS System, particularly at the ECOWAS Commission, and how it directly affects their work.
Tunis urged the parliamentarians to take full participations in the seminar to seek competencies that allow the parliament to play it’s full role in the discharge of their political and diplomatic duties.
“I also expect that this Seminar will move this Parliament to seek greater competencies, one that allows the Parliament to play its full role in the discharge of its political and diplomatic duties, I wish to remind each of us that our Parliament remains envy across the African Continent and as such, Africa and the region look up to us for leadership, as well as political and economic development.
” We must ensure that we live up to those expectations and take ownership of the peace, security, and governance of our region.
“We must continue to strengthen our engagements and work hand in hand for the good of the people we serve, By so doing, we would have left behind a legacy that will be cherished for generations to come”, Tunis advised.
The theme of the seminar is “Application of the power of the Parliament in light of the restructuring of the ECOWAS Commission.