President Muhammadu Buhari has urged ECOWAS member states to harmonise for consensus candidates to secure more seats in the African Union and UN. Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of ECOWAS Ministers meeting at the sideline of the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York. Onyeama said that the meeting, at the instance of Buhari who is the current President of ECOWAS Commission, was to reposition ECOWAS towards presenting a common front both at the AU and UN.
He said that Buhari urged the ECOWAS ministers to come up with a formula whereby they can evaluate each candidate in good time from ECOWAS countries and settle on one. “At the moment the President of the ECOWAS Commission felt that we have a situation now where there are a lot of positions in the international organisation. “We have many candidates from ECOWAS. Of course, the risk in it is that you now compete against yourself and you could have a situation where you knock yourselves out.
“So, the president suggested that we meet at the ministerial level while we are here at UNGA to enable us come up with a formula whereby we can evaluate each candidature in good time,” he said. The minister said that this would enable the whole of ECOWAS block to come around a candidate and push the candidate forward. “That will give the best possible chance for that candidate to succeed in the election rather than having different countries putting up different candidates and countering each other and ECOWAS become a loser,” he said.
President of the Commission, Jean Claude Brou said the meeting was to help ECOWAS harmonise so that members do not begin to fight one another at continental and world level. “This meeting was made at the request of ministerial committee that they have to really look at this as the minister of foreign affairs of Nigeria said. “It is important that we harmonise so that we don’t begin to fight each other to give the best chance to ECOWAS countries as a group to put candidate in international position whether at the UN, AU or any other. “So the meeting went very well. It will set good criteria so that we can have efficient process in harmonising our position.
“There are several position in non permanent members in the Security Council and there are also positions in the international community and the African Union. “It is important; that we are able to work on the process and select a number of criteria that will be used to look at all the various candidates that we have in future is a main achievement of this meeting,” he said. (NAN)
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