President Bola Tinubu, who also serves as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, urged West African leaders on Sunday to prioritize good governance and collective prosperity as crucial measures to prevent authoritarian takeovers and unconstitutional changes of government in the region.
Speaking at the 64th ordinary session of the West African bloc held at the State House in Abuja, President Tinubu emphasized that good governance is a fundamental commitment and an avenue to address citizens’ concerns, improve their quality of life, and create a stable environment conducive to sustainable development.
He urged engagement with countries under military rule based on realistic and short transition plans that can deliver democracy and good governance to the innocent populations in those countries.
“The delivery of good governance is not just a fundamental commitment; it is also an avenue to address the concerns of our citizens, to improve their quality of life, and create a stable environment conducive to the achievement of sustainable development.
“By providing good governance that tackles the challenges of poverty, inequality and other concerns of the people, we would have succeeded in addressing some of the root causes of military interventions in civilian processes in our region,” a statement from the Presidency quoted Tinubu to have said.
Responding to the recent formation of an ‘Alliance of Sahel States’ by some ECOWAS-member states under military rule, President Tinubu described it as distracting and emphasized the commitment to pursuing ECOWAS integration.
“The phantom pushback Alliance appears intended to divert our attention from our mutual belief in and commitment to democracy and good governance that will impact the lives of our people.
“We refuse to be distracted from pursuing the collective dreams, aspirations, and the noble path of ECOWAS integration as it is laid out in our institutional and legal frameworks.
“I take this opportunity to also emphasize that despite the numerous challenges faced in our region, ECOWAS has achieved significant milestones for the betterment of our community.
“ECOWAS activities have always been people-oriented, with a future of raising the living standard of our people. We have to do that through a relentless focus on qualitative service delivery and good governance,” he said.
In addressing recent disturbances in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS Chairman called on fellow leaders to protect democracy, emphasizing ECOWAS’ zero tolerance for unconstitutional changes of government.
“I urge all of us to stand strong and be highly committed in the face of any challenge in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. The message must go down clearly that we support a democratically elected government, not an unconstitutional exercise.
“The re-elected president of Sierra Leone is present here. We are saying loud and clear that we are with you.
“Without let or hindrance, democracy will win, if we fight for it, and we will definitely fight for democracy,” the President stated.