President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated for the restructuring of the ECOWAS, saying the African Organisation needs to operate its management to reflect current realities. Buhari made this call during the 58th virtual ordinary session held in Abuja with Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS.
The Nigerian President said,” A situation where ECOWAS has 23 statutory appointees, of which 13 are Commissioners for this Commission is totally unsustainable”.
Buhari reiterated that the ECOWAS require only lean compacted leadership advocating for the merger of some offices for an enhanced leadership of the organization, saying this would displace the overlap and tussle existing in the system as well as reduction of personal; and overhead cost of running the organization giving room for allocation of resources for execution of other projects.
Mr. Buhari added that” The African Union, our larger continental organization of 55 members, has pruned down its commissioners to only six, hence, there’s no basis whatsoever, for ECOWAS, with only 15 members, to maintain 13 commissioners and 10 other statutory appointees.
”Accordingly, Nigeria recommends the immediate appointment of a ministerial ad hoc committee to review the proposal of the Maxwells Temp Report and submit a recommendation, at the mid-year summit for our consideration and adoption.
Buhari told the meeting participants, ”If however, some countries are not in favor of this, then each country must sponsor its own statutory appointee as is practiced by other organizations, such as the European Union and other regional organizations”.
He said,” Going by the recommendation of the Maxwells Temp Report, it is envisaged that even with the lean number of statutory appointees, each member country will still have a representative on the management of ECOWAS.
”We believe that this should satisfy our desire to have a sense of belonging in the community’s institutions and also to enhance our spirit of solidarity”, Buhari stated.
According to Buhari, ECOWAS now at 45 should be more organized just like other regional organizations, and for that reason, the right decision has to be taken to move it to that greater height.
He reiterated that this was to fulfill the dream of the founding fathers and to effectively serve the common citizens of the countries affected on the African continent.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian leader has approved the release of $20 million to fund the ECOWAS account for the purpose of fighting insurgency in the sub-Saharan region.
He said, ”We have already directed the immediate remittance of the sum of $20 million pledged by Nigeria to the pool account of the ECOWAS Action Plan to fight terrorism, while the sum of $80 million is to be disbursed for the fight against terrorism in the Northeast and banditry in the Northwest of Nigeria for the year 2021.
Speaking about the second wave of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Buhari called on all member states to prioritize the procurement of vaccines for the vaccination of its citizens while channeling effort to develop a homemade one.
The Nigerian leader also enjoined the ECOWAS Commission to put heads together with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), to assist member states to acquire the vaccine and its storage facility ahead of the vaccine arrival into their shores.