By John Okeke
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament is set to elect new Speaker, as the Fifth Legislature holds inaugural session in Niamey, Niger Republic this week.
The Fifth Legislature of the Community Parliament is expected to be inaugurated by the Chairman of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of Niger Republic.
A new Speaker will be elected at the five day inaugural session of the Fifth Legislature of the regional parliament which commences on Monday, March 9, 2020.
The emergence of the new Speaker, expected to be parliamentarian from Sierra Leone, is based on a rotational system in alphabetical order in accordance with Article 15 of the Supplementary Protocol establishing the Parliament, which necessitated the Fourth Legislature electing Moustapha Cissé Lô from Senegal.
In the same vein, Nigeria has released a list of 35 delegates that will represent the country at the ECOWAS Parliament .
Top on the list of the Nigerian representatives are Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris, Sen. Ajayi Boroffice, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Sen. Obinna Ogba, and Sen. Biodun Olujimi.
Others are Hon. Umeoji Michael, Hon. Saleh Gabriel Zock, Hon. Isah Murtala, Hon. Ibrahim Auyo, Hon. Abdullahi Umar Kamba, Hon. Haruna Mshelia, and Hon. Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu.
It could be recalled that at the 25th session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government which held in Dakar, Senegal on Dec. 21 and 22, 2001, it was decided that Abuja should be the headquarters of the parliament.
The Protocol provided for 120 seats in parliament, with each of the then 16 member states being guaranteed a minimum of five seats and the remaining 40 seats allocated on the basis of population.
After the state of Mauritania announced that it would pull out of ECOWAS in 1999, the parliamentary seats were reduced to 115.
Consequently, Nigeria has 35 seats, Ghana 8 seats, Cote d’Ivoire 7 seats, while Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger Republic, andSenegal have 6 seats each.
The others – Benin Republic, Cape Verde, TheGambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo have 5 seats each.