By Ismaila Chafe
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Nana Akufo-Addo, has pledged to sustain democracy in member-countries via the conduct of free, fair and acceptable elections.
Akufo-Addo made the pledge at the opening of the 59th ordinary summit of the authority of Heads of State and government of the organisation, held in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) monitoring the summit reports that Akufo-Addo also used the opportunity to thank all African countries for supporting the candidacy and election of Ghana into the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.
He also appreciated the support he had received so far from his colleagues, Presidents of countries within the West African region, and called for more collaboration, in order to move the sub-region forward.
He commended the efforts of African leaders towards sustaining democratic tenets, as he congratulated the Presidents of Niger and Benin Republics, for their recent successes at the polls.
“Let me congratulate our brothers and colleagues, Mohammed Bazoum and Patrice Talon, who have been elected as Presidents of the Republics of Niger and Benin, since our last summit.
”I offer them my and the community’s best wishes for their success during their terms of office.
“I also commend the Republics of Cote D’Ivoire and Cape Verde for the conduct and outcomes of their latest legislative elections. Our region continues to strengthen its democratic credentials through the holding of successful elections.”
While thanking African leaders for supporting the election of Ghana as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, he assured the continent of a worthy representation.
“On behalf of the government and people of Ghana, I thank all ECOWAS and AU member States for the support of Ghana’s recent successful candidate for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations’ Security Council for the years 2022 and 2023.
“Ghana received the highest number of votes on the day, with 185 out of 190 votes and it would not have been possible without your active support.
”I assure you that Ghana will make sure that Africa’s voice is heard loud and clear in the deliberations of the Security Council, both for matters affecting our region, the African continent and on global issues and we will consult properly to define Africa’s interest,” he said.
While noting with delight the planned UN reforms, Akufo-Addo stressed the need for balancing the membership of the UN Security Council in order to have African representatives on the council as permanent members.
“Africa’s common position on UN reforms, based on the Ezulwini consensus, is one matter we will work hard to add to the global agenda, to solicit the backing of countries around the world for this long needed reform.
“We believe it is time to correct the long standing injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represents for the nations of Africa,” he said.
He also lamented the continuous threats of terrorism, violent extremism and COVID-19, among others, to the development of Africa.
The Representative of the UN Secretary General’s office in West Africa and the Sahel, Annadif Saleh, pledged to support the effort of ECOWAS to restore political stability in Mali.
He also welcomed what he called positive developments in Cote D’Ivoire and Cape Verde.
The Secretary of the organisation of Francophone countries, Louise Mushikwiwabo, expressed her organisation’s support for the steps so far taken by ECOWAS to restore political stability in Mali.
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, who is the ECOWAS Mediator in the Malian crisis, also briefed the summit on the progress made so far in resolving the crisis in Mali.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who participated in the summit, is expected back in Abuja today. .