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Buhari laments unconstitutional change of governments in West Africa

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President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented the spate of unconstitutional change of governments in West African subregion as witnessed in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, saying it is reversing progress made in efforts to develop the sub-region.

Buhari at the end of 62nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Abuja appreciated the confidence reposed in him by ECOWAS member states as the regional Champion on COVID-19 added that, it brought an opportunity to work with sectoral Ministers as well as West Africa Health Organization to develop regional mechanisms that mitigated the of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” he said.

Buhari however, said regrettably, some of those gains, especially in fully democratising our governance space has faced and continue to face severe challenging threats from unconstitutional change of governments as witnessed in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

Buhari therefore, urged the Commission must work more assiduously to complete the review and harmonisation of the Protocols on Good Governance and Democracy, as this would enable our sub-region to sustain member State 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 criminalities in the sub-region as enhanced safety will sustain national governance efforts that would ensure the growth and progress of our sub-region,” he said.

In his inaugural speech, the President of ECOWAS, Dr Omar Alieu Touray said his management assumed duty at a critical juncture in the community’s integration efforts.

He said: “Just as we were recovering from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, our community is yet again confronted with major security and economic difficulties.

“Average growth rate has declined from 4.2 % in 2001 to 4% in 2022; Inflation has jumped from 10.4 % in 2021 to 12.5 % in 2022. Most of our countries registered increasing budget deficits, rising public debt and wider balance of payment challenges.

“Sources of insecurity in the region continue to grow, from terrorism and violent extremism to unconstitutional change of government, organized crimes ecological crises and fake news. Terrorism in particular has continued to threaten our region, spreading from the Sahel to the coastal states.”

While explaining further, Touray lamented that the spate of coup d’Etat and counter-coup d’Etat continues to reverse the democratic gains made over the years.

“Never before has our region been faced with so many difficulties at the same time. Our response as a community cannot be business as usual,” he said.


Touray however said, delivering shared prosperity must be and must remain the raison d’etre of ECOWAS.

“It is towards this goal that we have identified four strategic objectives that would be the focus of our Management in the next four years. We call these the Commission’s 4 by 4 (4 x 4).

“These are: Enhanced peace and security in the region; Deeper economic and social integration; Good governance and leadership and Inclusive and sustainable development.

“In addition to these four strategic objectives, we have identified two cross cutting enablers, namely capable institutions and equitable partnerships.

“Under the first strategic objective – Enhanced Peace and Security, we intend to focus on strengthening the ECOWAS Peace and Security Early Warning capacity, building mediation capacity and strengthen rapid response and peace and constitution order support capacity.

“It is in this context that we have made bold proposals to Mediation and Security Council at the Ministerial Level for your consideration.

“Our second strategic objective is to Deepen Regional Integration through the promotion and enhancement of intra-Community trade; free movement of people, and working towards a single currency by 2027.

“Our Good Governance objectives include building stronger regimes against anti-constitutional changes of government in the region and supporting Member States to deepen democracy.

“The fourth strategic objective is Inclusive and Sustainable Development, which covers gender and social programmes, infrastructure, and environment.

“Under the rubric of Capable institutions, we are looking at two things: our resources and our processes. Activities under this pillar should enable us to enhance our processes and the judicious use of our resources, through an effective and efficient administrative, human, and financial resources management of our institutions,” he said.


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