Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Tunis on Thursday commended Nigeria and it political parties for successful conduct of primaries election, saying the sub-region and whole world are looking up to the country for free, fair and peaceful election in 2023.
Speaking at the opening of the 2022 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Dr. Tunis explained that with the complexity of Nigeria society, the parliament admired the maturity and tolerance exhibited so far.
He said, with elections scheduled to hold in three Member States; the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the role of the parliament was to ensure that the democratic processes were conducted in a way that guarantees the best possible outcomes cannot be overemphasized.
He added that in coordination with the ECOWAS Commission, “we must begin our engagements long before polling day to ensure successes in all three Member States.
“As we inched closer to full scale political activities, let me seize this opportunity to advice all actors on the need for additional tolerance in this anxious period of full-scale political activities. The sub-region and indeed the whole world looks up to Nigeria and expects a successful, as well as free, fair and peaceful election in early 2023.
“ In similar manner, let me, on your behalf, congratulate the people of the Gambia for a successful holding of legislative and local elections in April of this year. The success recorded marks a remarkable progress in Gambia’s transition to Democracy and we congratulate all the winners, while thanking the losers for supporting the democratic process.”
On insecurity in the region, he said the act of terrorism, kidnapping and banditry had continue to cause major setbacks for security in the region, adding that Burkina Faso, Mali and the Federal Republic of Nigeria the situation had worsen.
“We condemn the recent attack on the Kaduna International Airport and the Abuja-Kaduna train that led to the loss of innocent lives and injuring to many others; the gruesome attack at St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo State that led to the killing of many, and many others unfortunate deaths across the region,” he said.
However, he thanked Nigerian government for its continued efforts in fighting the perpetrators of evil and call for increased vigilance in areas that were susceptible to threats.
The speaker noted that Regional cooperation and Integration was beneficial to survival as a Community.
According to him, “To leverage on the vast benefits of multilateralism and parliamentary diplomacy, I represented the Parliament at several regional meetings including the Parliamentary Summit on Regional and Provincial Unions of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and the 144th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU). These engagements demonstrated our full commitment to Inter Parliamentary Cooperation and support our determination to bring much needed visibility to this Parliament.”
On COVID-19, he said, “our continent still has a proportionately low number of fully vaccinated individuals against COVID-19. Challenges ranging from the supply and delivery of vaccines to the shortage of medical staff, vaccine hesitancy and low health systems capacity, impede the Continent’s ability to tackle not only the current health crisis, but future ones as well.
“As we gradually recover from the Pandemic, we must invest in building resilient health systems to address our current health challenges and respond to future pandemics. I also add my voice to call on resource rich Countries and big pharmaceutical companies to consider donating additional doses of the vaccines and support investment in the local production of vaccines.
“It is also important that we pay closer attention to issues of severe droughts, deforestation, desertification, flooding, coastal erosion, disease outbreaks, famine and food shortages, that most countries in the region are experiencing because of Climate Change. To address these challenges, the ECOWAS Commission, with the full participation of the ECOWAS Parliament and other stakeholders, must be proactive and support programmes that reduce vulnerability to Climate Change in West Africa.”