The Political Governance Programme Manager at Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Mr Mathias Hounkpe, has called for better governance to address recent speedy decline in democracy among West Africa countries.
Hounkpe stated this at a “Stakeholder Engagement on 20 Years of Implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance” organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) on Thursday, in Abuja.
He said recent research conducted by OSIWA in collaboration with Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) revealed that recently, there was a decline in democratic index across the globe but the decline in the West Africa continent was sharper.
“When you compare liberal democracy in Africa, you will see that West Africa countries are doing better compare to other economic communities in the region.
“When you also compare democracy in West Africa to other continents in the World, you we see that we are doing well.
“You can also notice that from 1990 to 2010, you see the progress of democracy in West Africa, but since 2017, we started seeing a decline.
“Democracy is declining everywhere but in West Africa the decline is deeper compare to other regions of the world,” Hounkpe said.
He said that in the recent times there were also increase in restricted civil space for citizens to express themselves in the region.
“We need to do everything that we can to make sure that citizens contribute to decisions that have to do with public policies, and so on.
“We need to make sure that our governments are account to citizens,” Hounkpe said.
He, however, said that in spite of the challenges, people of the sub-region still preferred democracy governance to other form of government and credible elections to elect their leaders.
The GJF Executive Director, Ms Ann Iyonu, described the event as one of the contributions of the foundation to making democracy in the West Africa stronger.
She said that the meeting was to assess level of compliance and to identify the challenges hindering the implementation of the protocol adopted in 2001.
“It is 20 years of the Supplementary Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, we are asking ourselves, how has the compliance been?
“How has implementation of the protocol been? What are the challenges that have confronted this implementation?
“What are the new challenges observed in the post adoption of the protocol 20 years later?
“Is COVID-19 posing any threat to the implementation of the protocol 20 years later? Are there other challenges that we should envisage?,” she asked.
Iyonu said that the foundation intend to send its recommendations to ECOWAS Commission for consideration.
She said that participants from of the meeting were drawn from Nigeria, Gambia, Liberal, Republic of Benin and Mali, while participant from Guinea couldn’t make it.(NAN)