By John Okeke
As the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament commences operation on a smooth note, Honourable Sidie Mohamed Tunis of Sierra Leone has emerged Speaker of the regional parliament to take them to the promise land in the next four years.
The fifth legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament was inaugurated early yesterday by His Excellency, Issoufou Mahamadou, President of the Republic of Niger and the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government.
The inauguration session witnessed the swearing in of new members from the various National Assemblies of Members States.
A total of 115 Parliamentarian were inaugurated. After the inauguration session, His Excellency Issofou Mahamadou signed the act that awarded the Speakership to the National Assembly of Sierra Leone. The signing act set the tone for Sierra Leone to produce the Speaker and other leaders.
Those elected to the ECOWAS Parliament for the 5th Legislature: are,
Rt Hon. Speaker : Hon. Sidie Mohamed TUNIS (Sierra Leone)
– 1st Deputy Speaker: Hon. Ahmed Idriss WASE (Nigeria)
– 2nd Deputy Speaker: Hon. Boucary Sani Malam CHAIBOU (Niger)
– 3rd Deputy Speaker: Hon. Aklesso ATCHOLI (Togo)
-4th Deputy Speaker : Hon. Adja Satu Camara PINTO (Guinea Bissau)
The New Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Tunis paid tribute to the past leadership of the ECOWAS Parliament.
In his exact words, “Today, I stand in humble appreciation to all the Honorable Past Speakers for the endurance and passion with which they conducted this office and ensuring that it occupies its rightful place in the sub-region and beyond. They fought a good fight; they laid a solid foundation; and it is now incumbent upon us to continue to propel this Parliament to Nobler heights”.
Tunis pledge to emulate the track records of the past speakers to whom he requested that all member raise to give all the past Speakers of ECOWAS parliament a standing ovation.
Speaker Tunis gives kudos to the heads of government for the efforts on combating terrorism in the region. According to him, “ I applaud the Authority of Heads of State and Government which emanated from its September 2019 Extraordinary Session on Terrorism in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. It is my optimism that the reevalution of our Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy, highlighted in that session, will yield the much-needed result as we strive to protect our borders”.
Speaking on the corona virus, the Speaker said, the Sub Region have witnessed her share with cases confirmed in Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, calling on West African Health Organization(WAHO), and all Governments to employ mechanisms that increase our abilities to prevent and , in the unfortunate event, respond to any outbreak in our States.
In his closing remarks Tunis said one of the cardinal objectives of the 5th legislature is to work towards the evolution of a set of dedicated Members of the Parliament. According to Tunis, “as you are aware, we have duality of membership, as all of us are first Members of our National Parliaments, before serving in ECOWAS Parliament. Much as this arrangement has its advantages, it equally has disadvantage. The most obvious being the significant commitment that makes members too occupied at home, sometimes at the expenses of the Regional Parliament. During the current legislature, we shall undertake studies to see how best this issue can be resolved. One likely solution would be the conduct of direct election into the ECOWAS Parliament.
The event of the day closes with the establishment of the Committee on Selection and the establishment of the ad hoc Committee responsible for the consideration of the draft Rules of Procedure of the Fifth Legislature of the Parliament. The 5th Legislature was hosted to a dinner by His Excellency, Issoufou Mahamadou, President of the Republic of Niger and the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the event, Ahmed Idris Wase, the Deputy President of Nigeria Senate who is also the First Deputy Speaker said team work will characterize the first Legislature. Wase said, “what you expect from this Legislature is team work in the interest of the sub region, in the interest of our community, we are going to collaborate with Executive to ensure we have peace in our region. Another Nigeria Parliamentarian Smart Adeyemi said the emergence of Wase as the First Deputy Speaker is as a result of the good leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.