The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Mr.
Femi Gbajabiamila, has advocated full integration in Africa using the legislative instrument to have a common passport, market, and a single customs and monetary union.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke in Abuja at the opening of the 51st Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region stressed the need to “agree to use the instruments of trade and common markets to set the continent on the path to a future of honorable peace, abiding prosperity and brotherhood amongst the nations of Africa.
Gbajabiamila noted that the CPA Africa Region had and would continue to play an essential role in advancing democracy in Africa.
He said: “let us commit ourselves to use the tools of parliamentary diplomacy and authority to enable the achievement of a common Passport, a common market, and a single customs and monetary union that will make full African integration possible.
Let us agree to use the instruments of trade and common markets to set us irreversibly on the path to a future of honorable peace, abiding prosperity, and brotherhood amongst the nations of Africa.
The Speaker lamented a situation where Africa witnessed a reversal of the democratic gains made over the past two decades in Sudan, Mali, Guinea, Niger and Chad, amongst others.
“It is, therefore, apt that we have chosen to make addressing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic the theme of our Conference this year.
“This will allow us to critically examine the present conditions across Africa, consider options for building political and economic resilience using the tools and powers of parliament, and affirm our shared commitment to the goal of a democratic, free and prosperous continent,” he said.
The Speaker said he, alongside the Speakers of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa, convened the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP), born of the recognition that the Covid-19 pandemic would impose fundamental alterations in global politics, economics and the relationship between nations.
“We believe that increased collaboration between African Speakers is necessary to protect our shared interests in this new paradigm.
“Our principal objective is to facilitate increased collaboration and cooperation between Speakers, Heads of Parliament, and National Assemblies across Africa to advance African development.
“We are working on expanding the membership and participation of parliaments across the continent,” the Speaker stated.
In a remark, Hajiya Zainab Gimba, who is the chairperson, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Africa Region, said women were constrained from achieving the highest leadership position, noting that issues pertaining to women shall be at the front-burner during sensitization workshops at the conference.
The Conference provides an opportunity for parliamentarians across Africa to engage with and learn from each other about the challenges they shared and the strategies for overcoming them through annual conferences, seminars, workshops, parliamentary visits, and exchanges.
Speaker advocates common passport, market in Africa