President Muhammadu Buhari has spoken out in favor of restructuring ECOWAS and stated that the organization needs to streamline its management in order to adapt to current realities.
A situation in which ECOWAS has 23 legally appointed persons, including 13 Commissioners because this commission is completely untenable ”, said the president in his presentation at the virtual 58th ordinary meeting of the authority of the heads of state and government of the ECOWAS on Saturday in Abuja.
He stressed that lean and compact leadership in ECOWAS was needed to improve the organization’s efficiency and performance, adding that the restructuring would eliminate overlap and controversy among the major legal representatives, as well as lowering staff and overhead costs could be directed to the execution of projects.
“The African Union, our larger continental organization of 55 members, has reduced its commissioners to just six. Therefore, with only 15 members, there is no basis for ECOWAS to maintain 13 commissioners and 10 other legally appointed members.
Accordingly, Nigeria recommends the immediate appointment of an ad hoc ministerial committee to review the Maxwell’s Temp report proposal and present a recommendation for review and approval at the six-monthly summit.
“However, if some countries do not support this, each country must sponsor its own legal representative, as is done by other organizations such as the European Union and other regional organizations,” President Buhari said at the meeting.
He added: “On the recommendation of the Maxwells Temp Report, it is envisaged that each member country will continue to have a representative for the management of ECOWAS despite the small number of legally appointed persons.
“We believe this should satisfy our desire to have a sense of belonging to the institutions of the community and also strengthen our spirit of solidarity.”
The Nigerian Head of State brought the meeting to the attention of the fact that by the age of 45 ECOWAS should be a consummate regional organization and for this reason the right and courageous decisions must be made to improve its performance.
“This is to fulfill the aspirations of its founding fathers and serve the citizens of our community effectively in order to consolidate our leading position as the best sub-regional organization on the African continent.” he said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has directed the immediate release of US $ 20 million previously pledged to Nigeria into the pool account of the ECOWAS action plan to combat terrorism across the sub-region.
“We have already arranged the immediate transfer of the Nigerian pledged amount of US $ 20 million to the pool account of the ECOWAS Action Plan to Combat Terrorism, while the US $ 80 million amount is allocated to the fight against terrorism in the Northeast and banditry Payments are to be made in northwest Nigeria for 2020.
“We also commit to meeting our commitments for the remainder of the Action Plan,” said Buhari.
In the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the ECOWAS region, Mr Buhari urged all member states to ensure that they prioritize the procurement of vaccines for their citizens while stepping up efforts to get vaccines locally to develop herd immunity to the pandemic so that member states can develop flocks.
“Now that vaccines are about to become available, I urge all Member States to ensure that we prioritize the purchase of vaccines for our citizens while stepping up efforts to develop our own vaccines so that we can build herd immunity to those vaccines COVID-19 pandemic in West Africa, ”he said.
He also called on the ECOWAS Commission to work with the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to help Member States acquire the vaccines and storage facilities before the vaccines are distributed in the region.
The President said efforts should also be accelerated so that production of rapid test kits according to international standards in the region can be made available to all member states.
“It is important that the region develop effective measures and avoid a total blockade at this critical time so that our economies gradually recover from the first wave of the pandemic,” he said, adding, “The economic challenges our region is facing because the pandemic will undoubtedly manifest itself this year 2021. “
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