President Tinubu Supports Direct Elections for ECOWAS Parliament, Appeals for Member State Unity

President Bola Tinubu has pledged his support for a proposal advocating the direct election of members into the parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Tinubu, serving as the Chairman of ECOWAS, affirmed this commitment on Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony of 97 members into the 6th ECOWAS parliament at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

The President emphasized that direct elections would provide citizens of member states with the opportunity to elect their representatives. He assured the newly inaugurated members of the sixth ECOWAS Parliament of Nigeria’s continued support as the host country, in their pursuit of their objectives.

“As a former legislator myself, I eagerly anticipate reviewing the proposal regarding this matter. We are in full support of direct elections into the ECOWAS parliament,” Tinubu stated. “The practice of directly electing public officials is in line with democratic principles, which Nigeria upholds. This principle is also in accordance with the spirit of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance. We believe that this will ensure that citizens have a direct say in their representation, enhancing its legitimacy and credibility.”

President Tinubu also appealed to Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso to reconsider their decision to exit ECOWAS, warning that their departure could have significant consequences for their citizens and the region at large.

The ECOWAS Parliament, also known as the Community Parliament, was established under Articles 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The parliament comprises 115 seats, with each member state guaranteed a minimum of five seats. The remaining 40 seats are allocated based on population.

However, only 97 members were sworn in on Thursday, representing various member states. Nigeria has 35 members, while Benin Republic, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo each have five members. Additionally, Ghana has eight members, Cote d’Ivoire has seven, and Senegal and Guinea have six each. Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso currently have no representatives in the sixth parliament due to their intention to exit the bloc.

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