From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government has thrown its weight behind Nigeria’s quest for the position of African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
The endorsement was contained in a communique issued at the end of the just-concluded extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government chaired by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
‘The Authority agreed on the order of priority of the commissioner positions for which ECOWAS nationals are still standing for election by the Assembly of the African Union and made the necessary arbitrations between member states putting forward candidates for the same position. The authority decides to prioritise support for the candidature of Nigeria to the post of Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security,’ the communique read.
On the nomination of the ECOWAS member state to chair the African Union, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government nominated the Republic of Senegal as ECOWAS candidate to chair the African Union for the 2022 – 2023 period.
‘It instructs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to take the necessary steps to immediately notify the African Union Commission of the nomination,’ the communique also read.
The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government further instructed the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kassi Brou, to propose, for adoption, at the next ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, a clear mechanism for the rotation of candidatures to ensure that each member state had a legitimate opportunity to chair the Assembly of the African Union.
The ECOWAS leaders also decided that the second commissioner position to be allocated to the West Africa region will be filled by Burkina Faso, taking into account the gender parity.
On the implementation of ECOWAS institutional reform, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government reiterated its commitment to the objectives of improved performance and operational efficiency that underpin the institutional reform process, in order to promote the implementation of integration programmes geared towards the economic and social development of the region.
‘The Authority welcomes the status of implementation of the ECOWAS institutional reform, particularly with regard to enhanced financial management and internal control of the Institutions. The Authority notes that the tenure of the current statutory appointees comes to an end in February 2022 and that there is a need to discuss the optimal structure of the new Commission and the other Institutions, modalities for allocation of statutory positions, as well as efforts to streamline ECOWAS operating costs.
‘To this end, the Authority calls on H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa AkufoAddo, President of the Republic of Ghana, with the support of the Ministerial Ad hoc Committee on Institutional Reform, to lead a reflection on the issue. A Report on this point will be submitted to the Ordinary Session of the Authority to be held in June 2021. To that effect, a general consensus emerged from the Heads of State and Government that HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo continue for a second term as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority to oversee the implementation of the Reform,’ the communique further read.