By Charles Igwe
President Bola Tinubu has been announced as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
In his address at the meeting, Tinubu emphasized the importance of protecting democratic values in the sub-region, stating, “We will take democracy seriously. Democracy is very tough but it is the best form of government.”
As the chairman, Tinubu will play a pivotal role in leading ECOWAS member states towards economic development, political stability, and cooperation. He will collaborate closely with member states, regional institutions, and international partners to implement initiatives aimed at promoting economic growth, regional trade integration, and social development.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari held the position from 2018 to 2019. Although the office does not confer executive powers, the chairman plays a strategic role in conflict resolution, advocacy, and serves as a liaison with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, who is responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of ECOWAS policies and decisions.
Furthermore, Tinubu is expected to focus on strengthening ECOWAS’ collective response to security threats and fostering closer cooperation among member states in addressing regional challenges.
In a statement, Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications & Strategy, quoted Tinubu as saying, “On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level and needs urgent action in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilization of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity.”
Tinubu expressed his humility and commitment to providing necessary leadership to serve the interests of the community. He stressed the importance of democracy, stating, “There is no governance, freedom, and rule of law without democracy. We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again.”
Member countries and leaders of ECOWAS congratulated Tinubu on his election as President of Nigeria, and their congratulatory messages were conveyed during the opening ceremony of the event.
The ongoing 63rd session has been marked as the most attended by heads of state from member countries.