Nigeria will support Direct election to ECOWAS Parliament if it will not drain the resources and treasury of the community.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this In his Goodwill Message at the ongoing Second Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, the Nigerian leader said, Nigeria can only support the policy if it will not drain the treasury of the community.
Recall that Universal Adult Suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man), is the principle objective of the incumbent Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, RT. Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis, for the regional Parliament.
According to Tunis, Members of Parliament should be elected directly into the regional Parliament as opposed to the current practice where a designated number of Members are drawn from the national Parliament of each member state.
Direct election into the Parliament,Tunis argued, will crystallize into absolute commitment, as members drawn from the national Parliaments often grapple with multiple tasks, hence the absence of complete commitment to duties of the regional Parliament, thereby robbing the community of this presumed commitment by MPs.
His words: “On the issue of election of Members of the ECOWAS Parliament by Direct Universal Suffrage, Mr Speaker will recall that I gave Nigeria’s assurance to support the process, provided it is conducted with minimum or even at no cost at all, to the Community,” President Buhari said.
He also noted, “Let me underscore that the ECOWAS Parliament can only fulfil its true mandate when it has a set of directly elected and dedicated Members. I believe that a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, not drawn from serving members of Parliaments of Member States, would be a good step towards injecting our regional integration with new energy and initiative.
As a country that believes strongly in regional integration and cooperation, let me emphasize that Nigeria will continue to support all the ECOWAS Institutions domiciled within the country”.
President Buhari said, since the formation of ECOWAS, 47 years ago, the organization has evolved in many aspects.
He revealed that ECOWAS has recorded changes that have affected its demographic composition, as well as the social fabric of its population.
According to Buhari, the community has seen its challenges increase in the face of growing aspirations and the expectations of the people.
He concluded that ECOWAS will continued to wax stronger as a Community and have remained strong and resilient and shining example of regional integration and solidarity.