As the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, reconvened in Abuja the capital city of Nigeria yesterday, Speakers of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), and the Sierra Leone Parliament, Hon. Daniel Kidega and Hon Sheku Dumbuya, have respectively urged the Parliament to intensify efforts to enhance its powers of legislation to effectively promote integration of West Africa, arguing that ‘an advisory parliament is no parliament’.
Kidega, who spoke at the 2nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, said that despite the challenges faced by the previous parliament on issues of enhancement of powers and the present parliament’s renewal of the Draft Supplementary Act, institutional linkages and cooperation between ECOWAS organs should be strengthened to realize the ECOWAS vision.
“This may be the opportune moment for the parliament to transform itself into a legislative body that can enact laws that can influence change and respond to the demands of the people.”
Emphasising the importance of presenting a parliament independent of the Authority of Heads of States, Hon. Dumbuya said the Parliament must strive to make itself visible to the peoples of the community. He tasked national assemblies of the region on their inability to project an independent regional parliament, saying, “a parliament that only advises or exists to be consulted ceases to be a parliament.”
Dumbuya called on the parliamentarians to “spare no efforts in making the ECOWAS Parliament a veritable parliament worthy of its name.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian Senate President, Hon. Bukola Saraki, has tasked ECOWAS parliament to focus on the resolution of violent conflicts, and the promotion of regional trade to reduce poverty in the region.