As the ECOWAS Parliament celebrates the 20th anniversary since it commenced plenary in year 2000, Speaker of parliament, Hon. Sidie Tunis has paid glowing tribute to former Speakers of the sub-regional body for their contributions to the parliament.
Tunis, who spoke at a joint delocalized meeting of parliament holding in Lome, Togo, described the former speakers as famous West Africans whose contributions led ECOWAS to the height it had attained.
Delivering an address as part of the opening of the meeting of the Joint Committees on Education, Science and Technology, Telecommunication and Information Technology, Political Affairs, Peace, Security, as well as Committee on Infrastructure, Tunis added that 20 years was an important milestone.
“Let me use this occasion to congratulate all Members of the ECOWAS Parliament from 2000 to date, including, unfortunately the deceased.
“Let me also congratulate my predecessors in office, notably: His Excellency Ali Nouhoum Diallo – 1st Legislature, His Excellency Mahamane Ousmane- 2nd Legislature, His Excellency Ike Ekweremadu- 3rd Legislature, and His Excellency Moustapha Cisse Lo- 4th Legislature.
“These famous sons of West Africa, supported by other Members, contributed immensely towards making the ECOWAS Parliament what it is today. Certainly, posterity will reward your efforts and the sacrifices you made.
“I also wish to congratulate the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, Council of Ministers and the successive Presidents of the ECOWAS Commission for the collaboration and support.
“Like I said earlier, within the course of next year, we intend to celebrate in a bigger way, showcasing our activities and past achievements for the appreciation of stakeholders,” he said.
Theplebiscite.com reports that the joint committee meeting had as its theme: “ECOWAS in the era of COVID-19 and beyond: focusing on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote distance education and training in ECOWAS Member States”.
Tunis, who presides over the 5th Legislature of parliament, recalled that the first legislature of parliament was confronted with the major challenge of how best to make the Institution known across the sub-region.
He said that in 2003 the leadership of parliament introduced the idea of holding Committee meetings outside the headquarters, with Togo being the first country to host such delocalized meeting.
He added that it was a worthy coincidence that the anniversary celebration was coinciding with its delocalized meeting in Lome, especially considering the immense contribution of Togo to regional integration.
“Initially, our plan was to make it a big event next month in Abuja. Unfortunately, we would not be holding a Session until January 2021.
“We shall, therefore, cut the anniversary cake here in Lome and plan a series of other events spanning into the whole of next year.
“The above examples, as well as the coincidence of our anniversary happening in Lome, underscore the importance of this country in the scheme of things in the sub-region.
“We would, therefore, continue to thank the Government and the good people of Togo for their positive approach towards strengthening regional integration and cooperation,” he said.
A high point of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake by the Speaker, accompanied by the Speaker of Togolese Parliament, Hon. Yawa Tsegan.