President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, applauded the full democratization of West Africa as all 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are now governed by elected leaders.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of ECOWAS, while opening the first session of the Third Legislature of the Community Parliament of ECOWAS, in Abuja, Jonathan said the region was now ready to compete for development at the global level.
He recalled the recent return to democratic rule in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger, and said: “Indeed, we have reasons to celebrate our successes in these countries in spite of the political difficulties.
“We can state with pride that the people of the entire region are today under democratically elected governments in all the 15 countries”.
He saids West Africa needed to move away from culture of political uncertainty, economic stagnation and social degradation which had characterised unlawful ways of changing governments.
Jonathan condemned the recent assassination attempt on President Alpha Conde of Guinea and the security breach in Niger Republic.
He urged the ECOWAS parliamentarians to intensify efforts at making their elections to the body by direct universal suffrage as that will “constitute a guarantee for the democratic vitality of ECOWAS and its Parliament”.
He also threw his weight behind their efforts towards making the Parliament act beyond its advisory capacity by gradually evolving towards joint decision making in certain specific areas.
The president asked the lawmakers to continue with the practice of holding parliamentary committee meetings outside Abuja, the headquarters as it would provide visibility to other governance institutions.