ECOWAS taps Akufo-Addo to champion universal suffrage campaign

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By Lizzy Okoji

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has appointed Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo into a new position.

Nana is to champion ECOWAS drive to achieve the direct election of members into the parliament.

Dr Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, announced the high-level parliamentary seminar on 20 years of democratic elections in West Africa in Winneba, Ghana.

Tunis said one of the cardinal objectives of the current legislature was to achieve the election of members into the ECOWAS Parliament by direct universal suffrage.

He noted that despite restrictions and difficulties associated with executing normal activities, occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Parliament was able to kick start the process last year.

“Article 18 of the Supplementary Act provides that Representatives shall be elected by direct universal suffrage by the citizens of Member States.

“It also provides a transitional period at which time the National Assemblies of the Member States or their equivalent institutions or organs, shall elect such representatives.

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“As a result of our firm commitment to this cause, we have had the greatest honour to appoint His Excellency  Mohamaddou Issoufou, former President of the Republic of Niger.

”(And) former Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State as the Chief Advocate for the roadmap to direct elections of Members to the ECOWAS Parliament.

‘’We have also appointed His Excellency Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former President of the ECOWAS Commission and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, as Assistant Chief Advocate.

“I have the most distinguished honour to request that Your Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo kindly accept to serve as the Champion for the attainment of direct election of Members to the ECOWAS Parliament.

“This request is predicated upon the firm support we have been receiving from Your Excellency and we sincerely anticipate that you will again graciously honour our request.

“We also believe that with the advocacy coming from His Excellency Issoufou Mahammadou and His Excellency Dr Ibn Chambas combined with Your Excellency as the champion, our objectives are as good as achieved,” Tunis said.

NAN