By John Okeke
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament , Sidie Tunis has promised to compensate the Lusophones countries in the parliament over their denial to occupy the seat of third Deputy Speaker in the parliament.
He gave the pledge during the first plenary of the fifth legislature in Niamey, Niger Republic when the Lusophones expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to remain as the fourth deputy speaker.
The Lusophones, in this case ,Cape Verde had occupied the seat of the fourth Deputy Speaker in the last Legislature and were hoping to move the third position.
However, this was not the situation, as the newly elected speaker, Sidie Tunis called for nomination from a Francophone country to occupy the position.
This led to a heated argument which made him to call for a twenty minutes break for consultations.
Even after the break which eventually lasted for more than an hour, there was still no shift on the decision as Togo was given the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the seat.
The speaker who apparently did not want to be involved in the argument, asked the first Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase to give an explanation, which Wase pointed out bluntly that it was due to their financial indebtedness.
According to Wase , ‘ You cannot be moved to that position because of your financial status. You lost out of the post of the speakership in the past because of this very reason given by them ( secretariat) and we are guided by what they are saying because the institution cannot function without dues or contributions from the community.’
Wase said the decision would serves as a deterrent so that any country who wants to be a full member, should first be right with their financial contributions.
The speaker who said he was not ready to open a debate on the issue, however promised to compensate them.
‘I don’t want to open a debate on this but at the same time, l want to assure my Lusophone colleagues that immediately after this plenary , l will have a special session with you for us to discuss some of these issues and I want to assure you that if there is anything you will loose by not occupying the position of the third speaker, I will make it up for you’, he said.
The ECOWAS parliament is composed of one hundred and fifteen (115) seats with a speaker and four Deputy Speakers. While the seat of the first Deputy Speaker is reserved for Nigeria, the rest are shared among other member countries.