By John Okeke
Sierra Leone is no longer the land of war, pestilence, bad governance, and natural disasters , The President of Sierra Leone, Dr Julius Madda Bio.
He noted that Sierra Leone owe its current peace and stability to ECOWAS leaders, soldiers, and citizens who helped them safely navigate those dark days in their history.
President Bio who said this at the opening of the First Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Freetown, added that, “We owe everything else to the sheer willpower of Sierra Leoneans to cope, recover, and move on even stronger”.
He also said: “Ours is now a land at peace where we have consolidated our democracy and, guided by our human capital development priorities and our Medium Term National Development Plan, we are firmly focused on achieving inclusive national development.
“So it is, indeed, an honour, for all of us, Sierra Leoneans, for the first time ever, to host the 2021 First Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament here in Freetown.
“We welcome one of our own, the Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis. Permit us, as a country, to thank this august body for unanimously electing him Speaker of this Assembly during your inaugural session in Niamey, Niger on 9th March 2020.
“He cares very deeply about the advancement of the African Continent and its peoples, and I am confident that with his visionary leadership, he will undoubtedly leave a formidable legacy”.
The president added that the Speaker’s meetings and engagements with state actors and regional organisations in the community promotes peace, good governance, economic development, and respect for human dignity.
Regular interactions with stakeholders across the community he said will foster goodwill, understanding, and cooperation on challenges to key governance and other questions.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said the Strategic Plan is indeed an important tool to structure and make effective the action of Parliament.
Dr. Kassi Brou said that the plan is a real compass which is aligned with the development priorities of the region, emphasizes the participation of people in community affairs, in accordance with the Vision of ECOWAS which is to build a “ECOWAS of Peoples”.
He added that the implementation period for ECOWAS Vision 2020 has just ended.
He said the Commission has set out to develop vision 2050 that will guide the Community’s actions for the next 30 years.
While, welcoming parliamentarian to Sierra Leone, the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis said that the cardinal purpose for which this session is holding is to present and adopt a Strategic Plan for the 5th Legislature (2020-2024) of the ECOWAS Parliament.
He explained that the plan, which has been drafted by the administration of the Parliament under the supervision of the outstanding Secretary General, is guided by the provisions of the Community Strategic Framework and the ECOWAS Vision.
“It identifies program areas, with themes and priority areas that would systematically assist the Parliament in executing its mandate, as defined by the Supplementary Act.
“The Strategic Plan will provide direction in decision making and allocation of resources to enable Parliament attain its goals. It will also allow us to focus on our mandates and top priorities; it will provide guidance on the efficient and effective utilization of scarce resources.
“In addition, it will serve as the basis for Monitoring and Evaluating of the performance of Parliament during the tenure of the current Legislature.
“It is our sincere hope that the Plan will serve as a spring board to launch a new revolution that brings the Community Parliament closer to the people”.