Closing occasion of the 2014 First Ordinary Session of the Third Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament

ADDRESS BY THE HON. SPEAKER OF THE ECOWAS PARLIAMENT, HIS EXCELLENCY SENATOR IKE EKWEREMADU, CFR at the Closing occasion of the 2014 First Ordinary Session of the Third Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, Abuja on the June 2, 2014.

PROTOCOL

1. I am greatly pleased that we have gradually come to the end of a successful 2014 First Ordinary Session. It is indeed a Session to remember for so many landmarks. Again, you have proved beyond measures that the ECOWAS Parliament is a conclave of patriots and sub-regional builders. I commend you all for keeping the faith and living up to expectations as usual.

Compatriots,

2. This Session will be remembered especially for the commissioning of the refurbished parliamentary complex and foundation laying for a new office building for our Parliamentarians. I wish therefore to seize this opportunity to reiterate the gratitude of the Community Parliament to the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, His Excellency, Mr John Dramani Mahama, represented by the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, Mr Kwesi Ammisah-Atteh. I send profound gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, represented by the President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Senator David Mark, GCON. On behalf of the Community Parliament, I thank them as well as the President of the Commission, His Excellency, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, other organs and institutions of the ECOWAS as well as friends and partners of the Community Parliament for the outpour of support and solidarity to us. I want to reassure them that we will surely continue to justify the immense confidence, which they repose in us.


Honourable Colleagues,

3. In the course of the session, we received and dissected the State of the Community Report as rendered by the President of the Commission as well as the Country Reports by our National Group of Parliamentarians. I want to commend the President of the ECOWAS Commission and our various National Groups for their incisive and thorough reports. These reports have no doubt given us clearer and more in-depth pictures of the developments, challenges, and progress in the Community. With such knowledge, the Parliament is now in a better position to follow through on the Community programmes and make necessary inputs and interventions. I wish to call on the Commission and our various National Parliaments to adopt the recommendations and suggestions on these reports with a view to moving the Community forward.

4. In the same vein, we received, debated, and adopted the reports of our Standing Committees on their delocalised meetings and matters referred to them respectively. Let me seize this opportunity to laud our various Standing Committees for the seriousness, which they attach to their delocalised meetings and assignments; as I have always pointed out, a parliament in Committee is a parliament at work, while a parliament in plenary is a parliament in display and ceremony. I am happy that this Third Legislature took off on a strong note. But let me add that our ability to finish strong depends on how hard our Committees continue to work. And as is the tradition of the Third Legislature, we must bear in mind that these delocalised meetings are importantly opportunities to mingle and interface with the peoples of the sub-region. They are opportunities to bring the Parliament closer to them, feel their pulses, familiarise ourselves with the challenges, show solidarity to them, and bring to them the message of hope and possibilities. As we enter the second phase of our delocalised meetings, therefore, I urge all Honourable Parliamentarians to give their best in attendance and participation to the meetings.

Dear colleagues,

5. This security challenges in the sub-region, especially the scourge of terrorism and insurgence in some parts of Nigeria received the attention of the Community Parliament this Session as always. We condemned the brigandage and infamy in its entirety and pledged our solidarity to the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We also pledged our support for international initiatives to not only bring the abducted Chibok girls safely home, but also to bring the whole madness to an end.

6. I wish to on behalf of the Parliament commend the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for the Extra Ordinary Session on Security held in Accra over the weekend. That was a patriotic response to our earlier call for an emergency meeting of the Authority. It is a further demonstration of unity, leadership, and determination to confront a common enemy. Let me reiterate the condemnation by the Community Parliament of these acts of barbarism and restate that no part of this sub-region will be yielded to the insurgents. We united to rout them out from Mali. We will therefore unite to rout them out of Nigeria and every part of the sub-region because their ways are not our ways. Our cultures and religions as African are rooted in love, not hate, mindless massacres, and destructions. The Parliament will continue to stand united with the Government and people of Nigeria, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, and indeed the entire humanity in the global onslaught against terrorism and insurgency. By God’s grace we will surely succeed.

Honourable Parliamentarians,

7. The quest for the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament is on. The Draft Legislative Act for the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament will be represented for consideration at the ECOWAS Council of Ministers meeting coming up in Accra this June. This meeting is highly strategic because it will precede the meeting of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. We have come a long way in this quest, and I believe the concerns raised by the Council in Abidjan have been adequately addressed. I also believe that the members of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers are willing to etch their names in gold in the annals of the Community. I must commend out National Group of Parliamentarians who have shown faith and energy in mobilizing their various governments to support our quest. But the onus remains on all Parliamentarians, especially the National Groups that have not done well in this sensitisation efforts, to mount a robust advocacy on the Draft Legislation among their national governments. This is the closest the Parliament has come to transforming from a mere advisory body to a real Parliament in line with global best practices. We have come to a point in this quest where only success if feasible and indeed acceptable. We must not allow it to slip by.

Dear colleagues,

8. In ending this short address, I congratulate you, once again, for all we have been able to achieve in this First Ordinary Session. Thank you for continuing on the path of patriotism and dedication to the common good. I wish you journey mercies back home even as you return to our people with the messages of hope and brighter future for the sub-region.