President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received the new President of the ECOWAS Commission and his Management Team, telling them the kind of sub-regional body West African leaders desire and must have.
The president told Dr Omar Alieu Touray, the new President and the delegation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja:
“I wish you success in your assignments, which we hope can collectively drive our sub-region to one that is economically integrated, politically stable, and socially in harmony with itself, to the admiration of our continent, and, indeed, global community.
“That is the ECOWAS we desire, and must have. You cannot afford to disappoint us.”
According to him, as the host of the ECOWAS Commission, Nigeria expects that the scrupulous processes that led to the new appointments “would impact on the fortunes of our Organisation.”
He said this should be in terms of ”efficient and effective service delivery that bears positive impact on the lives of our citizens.”
He added that when the founding fathers met on May 28, 1975, to establish ECOWAS, what was uppermost on their minds was the promotion of economic cooperation between the member-States.
He said this was to raise the living standards of citizens, hence driving the economic development of the sub-region in an integrated manner.
The president said: “Forty-seven years after, this core objective for the formation of ECOWAS remains critically relevant to our national and sub-regional aspirations.
”Issues of inter-state cooperation and collaboration, harmonisation of policies, integration of programmes, conflict management and security of the sub-region, have continued to necessitate the need for our solidarity and collective responses to our common challenges.”
He listed such challenges as climate change, terrorism, health issues, good governance and the sustainability of democracy anchored on rule of law and ultimately, development and progress for the citizens.
Buhari told the new Management Team that citizens of ECOWAS must directly feel the impact of the organization through people-oriented programmes.
He urged that projects must include effective advocacy around core issues of concerns to the sub-region.
“May I emphasize the importance of team-work and the necessity for the new Team to work assiduously to re-position ECOWAS in order to deliver to the expectations of our citizens,”the president said.
He said this could be achieved through a careful fine-tuning of the sub-region’s development agenda 2050, that is guided by the African Union Agenda 2063, and conscious of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
“With many Development Experts on your Team, I have no doubt that you will evolve appropriate partnerships and working relationships with Development Partners across the globe, to maximise opportunities for progress,” he stated.
Touray thanked Nigeria for the support she gave to the candidature of the new Team members.
He pledged that they would live up to the expectations of West African leaders, “as we are fully conscious of the priorities set for us.”
He said they would work with member-States to pursue their objectives, “and make ECOWAS institutions what you want them to be.”