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President Tinubu has Emerged as the New ECOWAS Chairman


President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has been elected as the new Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He succeeds President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau in this role. Tinubu's election was announced at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.


This summit was President Tinubu's first engagement within the African continent since taking office on May 29, 2023. He attended the session in Guinea-Bissau on Sunday, July 9, 2023, where he was elected as the ECOWAS Chairman.


As the latest member of the exclusive club of Heads of State in West Africa, Tinubu pledged to take on the responsibility of the office and lead an inclusive administration of the regional organization. However, he also highlighted the alarming threat to peace in the sub-region, including terrorism and an emerging pattern of military takeovers, which he emphasized required urgent and concerted action.


President Tinubu called for collective action from member-states and vowed to harmonize frameworks to realize the goals of ECOWAS. In a statement by his spokesman, Dele Alake, Tinubu said,

"On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level, and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive."

Tinubu acknowledged the existing security architecture of ECOWAS, which includes both kinetic and non-kinetic operations, preventive diplomacy, the Regional Plan of Action on Fight against Terrorism 2020-2024, and the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force on Fight Against Terrorism. He stressed the importance of harmonizing these plans and mobilizing resources to effectively counter the menace of insecurity in the region.


In addition to security concerns, Tinubu also emphasized the need for ECOWAS to defend democracy. He expressed concern over the emerging pattern of coup d'etats in West Africa and called on ECOWAS to stand firm in safeguarding democratic governance. Tinubu stated,

"We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage but it is the best form of government... We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs."

As the new Chairman of ECOWAS, President Tinubu is expected to play a crucial role in addressing regional challenges, fostering peace and security, and promoting the development and prosperity of West African nations.


 

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