The President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured the ECOWAS Commission of support in the actualisation of the on-going institutional reforms.
The ECOWAS chair who arrived the ECOWAS Commission building in Abuja, on the 4th of December 2016, met with the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza, Commissioners and senior officials including Directors at the Commission. She held discussions with the officials on how to put the Community on a sound footing for the greater integration of the region.
President Sirleaf stated upon her arrival that she was in the Nigerian Capital to have first-hand briefings and to acquaint herself with the structure and modus operandi of the ECOWAS Commission among others.
Various presentations on the Departmental programmes were made by the Commissioners after the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission Edward Singhatey had given a detailed update on the ECOWAS Institutional reforms project.
The ECOWAS Chairman who took in further briefings on the political situation in the region, ECOWAS intervention through support for credible elections, high-level preventive diplomacy, peace building as well as conflict resolution efforts, also listened diligently to various reports on the challenges being faced by the Commission which include funding, energy shortages, and investment deficiency among others.
Describing the presentations as excellent and impressive, she said: “Let’s push harder. A lot of clarity has come from your presentations. We have to use our resources well so we can take responsibility for the progress we have made”
She recalled that the mandate for an institutional reform of ECOWAS Institutions was given by the authority of Heads of State so that everyone knows the state of affairs of ECOWAS establishments, their organogrammes, the level, and structure as well as positioning of staff.
Some of the reform measures were highlighted by her to include prudent use of funds in tandem with cost-cutting resolve by the leaders that will see administrative cost taking up between 35 percent (at the most 40 percent) of the Commission’s budget in favour of programmes and projects which is being projected for 65 percent allocation.
She also spoke of the need to have a plan and strategy firmly put in place for the statutory changes that would occur as a consequence of the institutional reforms
President Sirleaf called for more dedication, commitment and abundance of integrity on the part of ECOWAS officials.
She spoke of the need for a roadmap in order for the Authority of the Heads of State to be acquainted with the fact that progress has been made which needed to be “recorded and reported”
Fielding questions from a host of journalists later, president Sirleaf stated that the precautions being taken on the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe were necessary steps towards arriving at what will be beneficial to the region while her visit to Ghana was to convey the solidarity and goodwill of ECOWAS to the government and people of Ghana on the imperative of conducting a peaceful and credible election.
On The Gambia following the concession of defeat by President Yayah Jammeh after the country’s presidential election, she said the acceptance of defeat is good news for African democracy while the people of The Gambia can now continue on their path of development.
ECOWAS had earlier issued a statement congratulating the winner of the Gambian presidential election Mr. Adama Barrow for his magnanimity and president Jammeh for his display of maturity.
President Marcel de Souza who conducted affairs at all the meetings, thanked the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government for her auspicious visit and assured that everything was being done to ensure that the credibility of ECOWAS institutions is kept at all times.
The former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria chief Olusegun Obasanjo also visited president Sirleaf while at the ECOWAS Commission at the instance of President Marcel de Souza. Speaking of the fortuitous visit before a closed door session, Chief Obasanjo noted that he came to lend his support to efforts being made for a more integrated region. He stressed that there is a lot to do collectively for West Africa and Africa.
The visit would enable President Sirleaf give an informed report to the heads of state who would be meeting later in 2016 in Abuja for their ordinary summit.