By: Kebba AF Touray
Following a successful seminar, the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Wednesday ended its Extraordinary Session in Banjul. The seminar and Extraordinary Session were held with the fundamental objective of evaluating the performance of the four year term of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament. As regional representatives of the citizens of their various countries in the sub-region, it is necessary that at the end of a legislative term, the ECOWAS parliament reviews and evaluates its performance and the implementation status of their ideals and goals of integrating the economies and peoples of the sub-region as envisioned by the founding fathers of the Organization.
Moustapha Cisse Lo, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, explained to the gathering that the seminar provided them the platform as ECOWAS parliamentarians to take stock of the Fourth Legislature. Speaker Cisse Lo reiterated the need to stimulate peace, security and stability in the sub-region, as important instruments in the attainment and maintenance of sustainable development in the sub-region.
“Our mediation efforts and interventions have helped us prevent further conflicts and bringing peace to countries. The sensitization activities carried out along our borders have widened the understanding of border officials on the full implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol and the prevention of harassment of people and businesses that cross these borders,” he said.
Deputy Speaker of the Gambia’s National Assembly Momodou L.K. Sanneh said that the diverse inputs of the regional parliamentarians has assisted them execute their legislative roles in line with best practices.
“The extraordinary session provided space for open discussions where the views and opinions of parliamentarians were evaluated,’’ he said; that ECOWAS parliamentarians discussed and evaluated with respect, the opinions of their fellow parliamentarians.
He said it is high time for the ECOWAS Parliament to play an effective role in the transformation of the sub-region. He highlighted that poverty and economic recession still affects the wellbeing of the people.
“If ECOWAS needs to achieve its goal, it needs to be well governed, well managed, transparent and accountable to the people of the sub-region. To effect the needed changes, it is necessary that we reflect on what we have learnt during our tenure and do things wisely,” M.L.K. Sanneh concludes.