By Abdul Malik Bangura
At the climax of the 2nd ordinary session of ECOWAS parliament held virtually, the Speaker of the regional parliament has on Tuesday 19th January 2021 confirmed that Sierra Leone will be the next destination to host the 1st ECOWAS Parliament Extraordinary Session 2021.
Rt Honourable Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament who himself is a member of the Sierra Leone Parliament representing Constituency 101 in Makpele and Soro Gbaima chiefdoms, Pujehun District, Southern Province of Sierra Leone, said the country is fully ready to host the entire composition of ECOWAS Parliament, comprises of 115 members drawn from all 15 ECOWAS members states.
The 1st ECOWAS Parliament Extraordinary Session 2021 will be the first parliamentary session to be hosted in Sierra Leone since a Sierra Leonean became head of the regional parliament.
Meanwhile, Leader of Sierra Leone delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Honourable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah, in his remarks said he is fully ready to welcome the parliament here in Sierra Leone. As a leader of the delegation of Sierra Leone to the ECOWAS parliament, he is the chief-host of the delegation and must ensure that the session is properly conducted within the standards of ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS Parliament is composed of 115 seats from each of the 15 Members states. States have a guaranteed minimum of five seats. The remaining seats are shared on the basis of population. Consequently, Nigeria has 35 seats, Ghana 8 seats, Cote d’Ivoire 7 seats, while Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal have 6 seats each. The others – Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo have 5 seats each.
The ECOWAS Parliament, also known as the Community Parliament, is a forum for dialogue, consultation and consensus for representatives of the people of West Africa with the aim of promoting integration. It is established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on 6th August, 1994 and entered into force in 14th March, 2002. It provides for the structure, composition, competence and other matters relating to the Parliament. At its 25th session held in Dakar, Senegal on the 21st and 22nd December, 2001 the Authority of Heads of State and Government decided that Abuja should be the headquarters of the Parliament.
Normally, based on directives from the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Parliament chooses a venue to convey their meetings. Against this backdrop, the Speaker His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis has confirmed Sierra Leone to host the 1st ECOWAS Parliament Extraordinary Session 2021.