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Tinubu backs direct ECOWAS parliament elections


President Bola Tinubu expressed his backing for a proposal advocating the direct election of members into the parliament of the Economic Community of West African States.

He stated that such a move would grant citizens of member states the opportunity to choose their representatives.

“As a former lawmaker myself, I eagerly await reviewing the proposal concerning this issue. We are in favor of direct elections into the ECOWAS parliament,” Tinubu remarked during the swearing-in ceremony of 97 members into the 6th ECOWAS parliament at the Abuja International Conference Centre.

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Tinubu’s remarks come as the ECOWAS parliament is currently comprised of existing lawmakers from the 15 member states.

He further emphasized, “The practice of directly electing public officers aligns with democratic principles, principles that Nigeria upholds. This principle is also in line with the spirit of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance. We believe this will ensure that citizens will have a direct say in their representation and the legitimacy and credibility it will provide.”

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Tinubu assured members of the sixth ECOWAS Parliament that Nigeria, as the host country of the community, “will continue to support you to achieve your objectives.”

The ECOWAS parliament, also known as the Community parliament, was established under Articles 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The initial protocol establishing the parliament was signed in Abuja on August 6, 1994.

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The parliament consists of 115 seats, with each member state guaranteed a minimum of five seats, while the remaining 40 seats are shared based on population. However, only 97 members, representing various member states, were sworn in Thursday.

Tinubu also urged Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso to reconsider their decision to exit the bloc, highlighting the potential consequences for their citizens and the region, as stated by ECOWAS Commission President Dr. Omar Touray.