ECOWAS Extends Tinubu’s Tenure as Chairman Amid Regional Security Challenges

By Joke Kujenya

THE MEMBER States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have extended the tenure of Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

This decision was made during the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority, held at the Conference Centre of State House in Abuja.

Accepting the extension, President Tinubu pledged to continue leading the West African leaders with utmost dedication and to build on existing democratic values. “I will continue to lead in the service with my utmost best to serve our interest and build on democratic values and the structure that we inherit,” Tinubu stated.

President Tinubu’s initial tenure as Chairman was set to expire on July 9, 2024. He was elected at the 63rd Ordinary Session of ECOWAS, held last July in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau.

During his tenure, Tinubu highlighted the alarming levels of insecurity and the increasing pattern of military coups in the region, stressing that these issues demand urgent and concerted efforts from all member states.

He pledged to harmonize existing regional frameworks to tackle unconstitutional regime changes and to mobilize resources and political will toward counterterrorism initiatives.

In response to these security threats, ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, alongside Guinea, where military coups had taken place.

The bloc suspended all commercial and financial transactions between its current members and the junta-led states, freezing their assets at the ECOWAS Central Bank.

Additionally, ECOWAS demanded the release of former President Mohammad Bazoum and insisted that the Nigerien transition authority provide an acceptable timetable to restore constitutional order, threatening to activate a standby force if these demands were not met.

Despite these measures, the junta-led states remained defiant, further distancing themselves from ECOWAS’ demands.

ECOWAS Urged to Form Regional Standby Force for Security and Economic Growth

DURING THE 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja, President Bola Tinubu called on member nations to establish and maintain a regional standby force to enhance security and economic development.

Tinubu, who was re-elected as Chairman of the regional bloc, emphasized the urgency of this initiative due to escalating security threats in the region.

He also stressed the successes of the Regional Action Plan against Terrorism, which has improved cooperation in training, intelligence sharing, and humanitarian interventions.

Recently, Finance and Defence Ministers convened in Abuja to secure funding for the ECOWAS Standby Force to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts.

He noted that member countries have shown their commitment by increasing their defence budgets to acquire essential equipment and ensure readiness.

However, he stressed the need for more resources, stating, “A peaceful and secure society is essential for achieving our potential. The success of the ECOWAS Standby Force requires not only strong political will but also substantial financial resources.”

Tinubu urged ECOWAS leaders to leverage the capabilities of Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), renowned as one of the best on the continent.

He encouraged member states to contribute significantly to securing the region and to meet the expectations set by their Defence and Finance Ministers.

President Tinubu also addressed the importance of consistent financial commitments to ECOWAS to combat terrorism, banditry, and violent extremism effectively and acknowledged the economic challenges faced by member states but stressed that fulfilling financial obligations to ECOWAS is crucial for the organization to function effectively.

He reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to leading by example, ensuring that it remits collected levies to ECOWAS to stimulate regional economic activity.

Tinubu also called for the development of partnerships that promote investment, regional trade, and infrastructure development to build resilience against external shocks.

His tenure as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government was extended by ECOWAS members and while accepting this extension, Tinubu pledged to continue leading with a focus on democratic values and addressing the region’s security challenges.

Faye As Special Mediator

Appoints Senegal’s President Faye as ECOWAS Mediator

AMID REGIONAL turmoil and in a significant move to address instability, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has appointed President Basiru Faye of Senegal as the special mediator for ECOWAS with Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic.

This announcement came as Tinubu accepted a second term as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government during the 65th Ordinary Session in Abuja.

“With my renewed mandate, it is my honour to appoint President Basiru Faye to spearhead ECOWAS mediation efforts with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic,” President Tinubu had  stated.

Dr. Omar Aliyu Touraye, President of the ECOWAS Commission, confirmed that President Faye has accepted the role, stressing the importance of continued engagement.

“President Faye has agreed to facilitate our discussions with the three nations. We share more than just borders; we share communities and families. Our leaders are committed to maintaining the unity of ECOWAS,” Touraye emphasized.

The appointment comes in response to the withdrawal of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger from ECOWAS, which has jeopardized regional stability.

Known for his diplomatic expertise, President Faye has embarked on a mission to mend the rift and restore cohesion within the bloc.

During the ECOWAS summit, leaders also tackled the pressing issues of insecurity, terrorism, and extremism plaguing the region. A landmark decision was made to introduce a single currency by 2027, aiming to enhance regional integration and economic stability.

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