President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the new management team at Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, led by Dr. Omar Alieu Toure, to complete the review and harmonisation of ongoing reforms, aimed at strengthening the sub-regional body.
Buhari gave the charge, yesterday, in Abuja, in his welcome address at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
He 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.”
Welcoming fellow regional leaders, Buhari noted that this year’s Summit was the 8th that Nigeria, under his leadership, has hosted:
He said: “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, to address common challenges to our countries and the community’s citizens.”
The Nigerian leader paid tribute to President Nana Akufo-Addo 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 organisation, 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.”
Buhari 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.
He added: “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 working closely with sectoral Ministers, ECOWAS Commission, as well as the West Africa Health Organisation 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.”