Osinbajo sets agenda for new ECOWAS leader

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday in Accra said that with the advent of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as well as other economic challenges in West Africa, harder work is expected from the new leadership of the Economic Community of West African States chaired by Guinea-Bissau. President, Sissoco Embalo.

According to a statement signed Monday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said this during an interview with reporters at the end of the 61st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS held in Accra, Ghana. .

The statement was titled “High expectations for new ECOWAS leadership, says Osinbajo as regional body hails Nigeria’s contributions.”

According to him, expectations for the results of the body are high and its leaders must work harder to solve the persistent problems in the region.

Speaking of the outgoing President and Ghanaian leader, he said, “President Nana Akufo-Addo has done a great job at a very difficult time in ECOWAS history and many challenges remain. So we expect the new management to pick up the slack and work just as hard and maybe much harder to resolve some of the issues.

“There are even additional challenges today – economic challenges, especially with the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and economic problems. Other issues are the coups that have taken place in the region over the past two years and we are still trying to resolve some of these issues.

“The new leadership under President Sissoco Embaló must step up and tackle the very many responsibilities facing the region today.”

Osinbajo, however, also added that apart from the challenges, the region is seeing good progress in the ECOWAS common monetary policy, noting that there are things “we should be happy about”.

“Progress is being made along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, particularly on issues of movement of goods and services on this corridor. These are some of the very important decisions that have been made and I think progress is being made. »

During the opening session of the summit chaired by President Akufo-Addo, Nigeria’s efforts and commitment under the leadership of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Ret’d) to contain the COVID-19 pandemic 19 and other challenges in the region were appreciated. by the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

Acknowledging Nigeria’s contributions, President Akufo-Addo said, “Allow me to convey, on behalf of all of us, our thanks to our esteemed colleague, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who, as a champion in the coordination of the fight against COVID-19, has spared no effort in this endeavour.

He also acknowledged the country’s leading role in addressing other challenges in the region, particularly the threat of coups, terrorism and deteriorating humanitarian situations.

“Indeed, following the failed coup of February 1, 2022 in Guinea Bissau and our emergency summit of February 3, 2022, we have decided to deploy an ECOWAS Standby Force to support the stability of the country and the elected government of President Sissoco Embalo.

“This deployment of 609 security personnel, comprising 150 Nigerian soldiers and 140 Nigerian police, 150 Senegalese soldiers, 100 Ghanaian soldiers and 59 soldiers from Côte d’Ivoire, with a force headquarters of 80 officers drawn from all region, under the overall command of a Nigerian General and Force Commander is now complete,” he said.

Among the decisions taken at the end of the meeting was the lifting of financial and economic sanctions against Mali with the hope of improved progress in the country’s transition to democratic rule.

A newly composed ECOWAS Commission is also in place with the emergence of Gambian Omar Touray, who was introduced at the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government meeting on Sunday. He replaced Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou from Côte d’Ivoire.