From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that the subregion deserves to be politically stable and economically integrated.
Buhari said this when he met with the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, and his team that make up members states at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“I wish you success in your assignments, which we hope can collectively drive our sub-region to one that is economically integrated, politically stable, and socially in harmony with itself, to the admiration of our continent, and, indeed, global community.
“That is the ECOWAS we desire, and must have. You cannot afford to disappoint us.”
According to Buhari, as the host of the ECOWAS Commission, Nigeria expected that the scrupulous processes that led to the new appointments “would impact on the fortunes of our Organisation in terms of efficient and effective service delivery that bears positive impact on the lives of our citizens.”
He recalled that when the founding fathers met on 28th May, 1975, to establish ECOWAS, what was uppermost on their minds was the promotion of economic cooperation between the member-States in order to raise the living standards of citizens hence driving the economic development of the sub-region in an integrated manner.
“Forty-seven years after, this core objective for the formation of ECOWAS remains critically relevant to our national and sub-regional aspirations. Issues of inter-state cooperation and collaboration, harmonisation of policies, integration of programmes, conflict management and security of the sub-region, have continued to necessitate the need for our solidarity and collective responses to our common challenges, such as climate change, terrorism, health issues, good governance and the sustainability of democracy anchored on rule of law and ultimately, development and progress for our citizens,” he stressed.
He stressed that citizens of ECOWAS must directly feel the impact of the organization through people-oriented programmes and projects that include effective advocacy around core issues of concerns to the sub-region.
“May I emphasize the importance of team-work and the necessity for the new Team to work assiduously to re-position ECOWAS in order to deliver to the expectations of our citizens through a careful fine-tuning of our sub-region’s development agenda 2050, that is guided by the African Union Agenda 2063, and conscious of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
“With many Development Experts on your Team, I have no doubt that you will evolve appropriate partnerships and working relationships with Development Partners across the globe, to maximise opportunities for progress,” Buhari said.
Touray, in his remark, expressed gratitude to Nigeria for the support she gave to the candidature of the new Team members, pledging that they would live up to the expectations of West African leaders, “as we are fully conscious of the priorities set for us.”
He said they would work with member-States to pursue their objectives, “and make ECOWAS institutions what you want them to be.”