By Temitope Ponle
ECOWAS Parliament on Monday in Abuja congratulated Nigeria for the peaceful conduct of its 2023 general elections.
“I congratulate the President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his victory at the polls, the Speaker, Dr Sidie Tunis, said while addressing the opening of the First Ordinary Session of the parliament,
“I express best wishes on behalf of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament for his success as he prepares to take up the responsibilities and challenges of his office.
“I also extol the statesmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari for sticking to his term limit and facilitating a smooth transition to his successor.
“I thank aggrieved parties for seeking redress in the court of law. Such is the democracy we crave for and I am grateful that Nigeria, our biggest democracy, is leading by example,’’ Tunis said.
He added that the parliament was following events in Sierra Leone and Liberia closely, as both countries prepare to hold presidential and legislative elections in June and October, respectively.
Tunis also extolled the ECOWAS Commission and the AU for conducting a Joint Technical Pre-Election Fact-Finding Mission to Sierra Leone to assess the country’s level of preparedness for the electioneering process.
“I thank the government of Sierra Leone for its commitment to upholding the principles of democratic elections and commend all stakeholders for being committed to the democratic process.
“In Liberia we commend ECOWAS and the UN on whose auspices the Farmington Declaration was signed, committing all political parties to violence-free elections.
“We shall continue to engage with both countries within the framework of ensuring that both elections are peaceful, free, fair and transparent,’’ Tunis said.
The speaker also said legislative elections were expected to be held in Guinea Bissau in June following months of dissolution of parliamentary activities.
Tunis said that the parliament remained “very concerned over the pace at which the transitional processes are unfolding in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso’’.
He said the parliament was worried about the proliferation of terrorist activities in the Sahel, which had resulted in the killing of innocent people.
He stressed that parliament expected the President of the ECOWAS Commission to provide detailed explanations on the issues, during the presentation of his report.
He added that parliament had a responsibility to foster peace in the sub-region, which could be possible through supporting the structures and respecting existing policies and protocols.
He also said collective and immediate actions were needed to tackle other challenges existing in the sub-region.
Tunis said parliament would continue to demonstrate commitment to the cause of women and related programmes.
He said the allocation of funding to the ECOWAS Female Parliamentary Association (ECOFEPA) to fully support its programmes was a demonstration of the commitment.
The speaker commended the leadership and members of ECOFEPA for being committed and dedicated to championing women issues.
The on-going First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament will hold up to May 26. (NAN)