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Tinubu calls for direct elections into ECOWAS parliament

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President Bola Tinubu, at the swearing-in of 97 members into the parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), called for direct election into the parliament.

Tinubu, the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, said on Thursday in Abuja that the move would give citizens of member states a say in who represents them.

Speaking at the 6th ECOWAS parliament at the Abuja International Conference Centre, he noted that direct election aligns with the “ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance.”

He said: “As a one-time legislator myself, I look forward to reviewing the proposal regarding this matter. We stand to support the direct elections into the ECOWAS parliament.

“The practice of directly electing public officers aligns with democratic principles, principles that Nigeria upholds.

“This principle is also in line with the spirit of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance.

“We believe this will ensure that citizens will have a direct say in their representation and the legitimacy and credibility it will provide.”

He assured members of the sixth ECOWAS Parliament that Nigeria, as host of the community, “will continue to support you to achieve your objectives.”

The ECOWAS parliament, also known as Community Parliament, was established under Articles 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993.

On August 6, 1994, in Abuja, they signed the initial protocol establishing the parliament, which outlined its structure, composition, competence, and other related issues.

There are 115 seats in the parliament. Each member state has a guaranteed minimum of five seats, while the remaining 40 seats are shared based on population.

However, only 97 members, comprising lawmakers from various member states, were sworn in on Thursday.

They include 35 members from Nigeria and five each from the Benin Republic, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leon, and Togo.

Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have no representatives in the sixth parliament, as these states have expressed their intention to exit the bloc.

President Tinubu, citing earlier remarks by ECOWAS Commission President Dr. Omar Touray, appealed to the trio to reconsider their stance, as their exit could have far-reaching consequences for their citizens as well as the region.

 

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