President Buhari Warns West African Leaders Against Tenure Elongation

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has warned leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against elongating their tenure in office beyond constitutional limits.

The Nigerian leader gave the warning on Monday while presenting Nigeria’s General Statement at the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president urged his colleagues to respect constitutional provisions and ensure free and fair elections.

The statement quoted the President as saying, “It is important that as leaders of our individual member-states of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.

“As it is, the challenges facing the sub-region are enormous; from socio-economic matters to security issues, the ECOWAS sub-region cannot, therefore, afford another political crisis, in the guise of tenure elongation.

“I urge us all to resist the temptation of seeking to perpetuate ourselves in power beyond the constitutional provisions.

“I commend those in our midst that have resisted such temptations, for they will be deemed exceptional role models in their respective countries and the sub-region as a whole.

“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”

On the political situation in Mali, Buhari said Nigeria remained committed to the decision of ECOWAS for a civilian-led transition government not exceeding 12 months.

He commended President Mahamadou Issoufou of the Niger Republic and outgoing Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Leadership of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the Chief Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, “for effectively demonstrating commitment in handling the political situation in that country.”

Meanwhile, Ghanaian President, Akufo-Addo was elected new ECOWAS chairman at the session.

“Monday, 7th September 2020, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), took the decision to elect me, by unanimous vote, as Chairperson of ECOWAS for the next term of one year,” the Ghanaian president wrote after via his twitter handle @NAkufoAddo after the session.
“When we think of West Africa together with our individual countries, we are not just being pan-Africanists, we are also being true nationalists, because what makes West Africa more prosperous will make each of our individual countries more prosperous.

“I urged my colleague Heads of State to give enthusiastic support to Community decisions, and build rapidly our Community. Our peoples deserve no less, and the objectives of peace, progress and prosperity will, thus, be within our reach, realising the historic purposes of ECOWAS.”

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