President Adama Barrow recently attended the 62nd Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the West Africa Economic Community- ECOWAS held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Reacting to the Summit, President Barrow said, “it is a good day for The Gambia.” The Gambia took centre stage at the opening ceremony as it was the first time a Gambian was sworn in as President of the ECOWAS Commission in the person of Dr. Omar Alieu Touray to formally take the mantle of office as President of the sub-regional group.
Following his swearing-in ceremony, Dr Touray, in his maiden speech, brought to light the sub regional economic scenario marked by the unconstitutional change of governments, terrorism, and fake news. He, however, spelt out his team’s strategic objectives to enhance regional peace and security, deeper regional integration, good governance, and inclusive and sustainable development, which would be driven through capable institutions and equitable partnerships.
Another highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of the ECOWAS Excellence Award to deserving citizens, during which the First President of the Republic of The Gambia, the Late Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, was awarded the Eminent Persons Award. His widow, Lady Chilel Jawara and his sons, Dawda Jawara Junior and Ebrima Jawara, represented the family to receive the honour.
Late Sir Dawda was recognised for his leadership, restoration of peace in the subregion, the establishment of ECOMOG and for championing and making Banjul the home of human rights.
The Award includes a cheque for $20,000, a plaque and a certificate.
Other recipients were Senegalese singer Omar Penn, two Nigerians, writer, Wola Soyinka, and Business tycoon, Tony Elumelu.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, welcomed his colleagues to the 62nd Summit of ECOWAS, the last he will host as President, as his term of office ends in early 2023.
In his message, President Buhari said this was the 8th S Summit he had hosted in Nigeria. He paid tribute to former and current Chairpersons of ECOWAS and tasked the new management to execute the reforms that have commenced, harmonisation of the excellent governance Protocol, fight terrorism and others.
A closed-door consultation of the West African leaders preceded the ceremony. The agenda for the Summit included the annual reports, reports from the Ministerial Mediation and Security Council and missions on the conflicts and transitional governments in the sub-region.
The leaders also discussed Special reports on the ECOWAS Single currency and the High-Level Mission of Heads of State.