By Maureen Okon
President Bola Tinubu has called for sustained and effective regional integration amongst the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Tinubu made the call on Wednesday at the 2nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament 2023 in Abuja.
Tinubu, who was represented by Deputy President of the Senate, Jibirn Barau at the Legislature of 2023 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, said that regional integration was key to Africa”s development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the session is scheduled from Nov.
22 to Dec.
The session will also witness the swearing-in of new parliamentarians, among other activities.
The parliament would also have critical issues divided among committees being discussed which would be centred on Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, Health, Legal Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment, among others.
Tinubu said that he was filled with optimism that the discussions held during the session would resonate throughout time and serve as inspiration for future generations.
“As parliamentarians, it is crucial to remember that we represent the aspirations and hopes of the people of West Africa, especially those who have faced immense hardships and deprivations.
“Mr Speaker, you have demonstrated exceptional leadership, opening new avenues for cross-regional cooperation and integration.
“Your unwavering commitment to uphold democracy in member states and safeguarding the rights to freedom and justice of West Africa is commendable.
“ECOWAS has much to be proud of; thanks to the efforts of ECOWAS major cities in West Africa are connected by highways, such as the Nouakchott-Lagos Highway.
“The divide between Francophone and Anglophone countries has been bridged, fostering unity between the blocs,’’ he said.
He further added that European Economic Community has achieved a single currency for its member states, maintained peace, and abolished passport control within the Schengen region.
”They have successfully combined the characteristics of a federation and a confederation.
African nations, with their unique challenges, require even greater cooperation and integration.
”The atrocities in Sudan go unnoticed, while other regions receive immediate attention.
We must take charge of our own destiny, working together, collaborating and integrating.
“Therefore, I pose the question, `where do we go from here? The path ahead lies in the pursuit of integration and development.
“Integration should not be seen as a choice, but as an imperative.
It is our duty to leave a lasting legacy for future generations, recognising that together we can achieve and accomplish more.
“Let us draw inspiration from the European Union’s example and strive for the advancement of our beloved West Africa,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the session will also focus on the 2024 Consolidated Community Budget and progress of ECOWAS Integration and Development Programme.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola