The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has named the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the new chairman of the bloc at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government ongoing in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
President Tinubu, who is the latest member of Heads of State in West Africa accepted the honour, on behalf of Nigeria, with a solemn pledge to bear the responsibility of the office and run an inclusive administration of the regional organisation.
The Nigerian leader, however, warned that the threat to peace in the sub-region had reached an alarming proportion with terrorism and emerging pattern of military takeover that now demand urgent and concerted actions.
He said insecurity and creeping terrorism were stunting the progress and development of the region.
President Tinubu called for collective action from member-states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonized to actualize the dreams of ECOWAS.
“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level, and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilisation of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” he declared.
President Tinubu noted that ECOWAS had developed a security architecture, which he noted, “covers a wide range of areas that involved kinetic and non-kinetic operations, including preventive diplomacy. There is also the Regional Plan of Action on Fight against Terrorism 2020-2024 as well as the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force on Fight against Terrorism.
On his emergence as Chairman on his first participation at the summit, having just started out as the elected leader of Nigeria, President Tinubu stated that he was humbled and honoured by the trust to assume the leadership of the regional body, pledging his commitment to serve the interest of the community.
The new ECOWAS Chairman called for improved private sector participation in the effort towards the economic development of Member States as well as their social integration.
“We would work collectively to pursue an inclusive economic integration, which will be significantly private sector driven, in order to unlock the vast economic potentials of our region. We would actively promote trade, investment, and business cooperation among Member States by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade, as well as creating a conducive business environment.
In his welcome address, the outgone ECOWAS Chairman and President of Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo saluted his fellow leaders for sustaining the vision of the organisation despite the global economic headwinds and trouble spots within the region. He cited Mali, Burkina Faso and Republic of Guinea as countries where the constitutional order had been distorted while congratulating Nigeria and Sierra Leone for sustaining constitutional order through democratic process with the recent successful elections.