Ekweremadu Knocks Burundi Crises… As ECOWAS extols peaceful elections in Nigeria

ACCRA- The Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has described as unfortunate and uncalled for the crisis in the East African nation of Burundi.

He spoke on a day the ECOWAS Council of Ministers expressed deep relief and profound commendation for the government and people of Nigeria over the peaceful general elections in Nigeria.

Interacting with newsmen during the 74th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Accra, Ghana at the weekend, Senator Ekweremadu maintained that both constitutionalism and submission to the will of the peoples were fundamental to the peace, stability, and deepening of democracy in Africa.

He said: “We must learn to respect the views of our people. You can say whatever you want in court; you can say whatever you want in parliament. But so long as you don’t respect the views of the ordinary people, we will continue to have crises on our hands. The crisis in Burundi is totally unacceptable and uncalled for. African leaders must act fast and steer that country away from further avoidable crisis, especially considering the fact that Burundi is yet to fully recover from a prolonged civil war”.

The Speaker who doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, commended efforts to enhance the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, noting that the Community Parliament was on its way to becoming a parliament in the true sense of it and to serve as a better platform for the voice of the people.

Meanwhile, declaring open the 74th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadre Ouedraogo said President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerians had made Africa proud.

In an address read by the Vice President of the Commission, Mr. Toga McIntosh, Mr. Ouedraogo added: “The presidential election in Nigeria ended on an exemplary note and was hailed by all, even those far beyond West Africa’s shores.

“In paying tribute to the two candidates, their Excellences President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari, for the excellent victory delivered to the Nigerian people, I sincerely thank them for the positive picture of West Africa they have presented to the rest of the world. I am hopeful that the Nigerian example will spread throughout our region for the rest of the year and thereafter”.

On her part, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hanna Tetteh, said Nigeria’s election held a lot of consequences for the sub-region, noting that its success was a big relief for the entire people of West Africa.

“If Nigeria’s election did not end the way it did, I do not think we will be here meeting today”, she stressed.

In the meantime, the Council of Ministers has, among other things, resolved to present to the 47th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government coming up in Accra on Tuesday, the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament approved by the Authority in December 2014 in Abuja.

The document, when signed by the Heads of State and Government, will bring to a successful end the protracted efforts to enhance the powers of the Community Parliament

Uche Anichukwu
Special Adviser (Media) to Deputy President of the Senate