Emily Watson
Sun, Sep 3, 2023 11:35 PM

Femi Falana urges ECOWAS to approve two-term tenure for member states

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Femi Falana urges ECOWAS to approve two-term tenure for member states
Nigeria's foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to approve two-term tenure for member states in an effort to prevent coup plots in the sub-region. Falana also urged ECOWAS to take advantage of the current political crisis to launch the ECO currency, which has been delayed due to the influence of colonial powers. The call was made during the West Africa Civil Society Week conference in Lagos.

Nigeria's leading human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to approve tenure of two terms for member states without further delay as a measure to stop coup plots in the sub-region. Falana made this recommendation during the West Africa Civil Society Week conference held in Lagos between August 29 and 31. The three-day conference was organized by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WASCI) in collaboration with the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network.

Falana emphasized the importance of introducing a limit to presidential tenure in order to prevent prolonged stays in power and the temptation to cling to power through undemocratic means. He stated, "Tenure of two terms should be approved by ECOWAS for presidents in the region. In 2015, it was opposed by Togo. In 2022, Senegal and Cote D'Ivoire did the same."

In addition to the call for term limits, Falana also urged the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government to leverage the current political crisis in the region to launch the ECO currency. He expressed concerns that the implementation of the regional currency has been hindered by external influences, particularly the involvement of President Emmanuel Macron of France. Falana argued, "President Macron has taken over the responsibility of establishing and even printing the new currency. This still shows colonial influence. We must take advantage of the political crisis in West Africa to launch the ECO as the currency for the region."

Falana also raised concerns about military interventions in West Africa, emphasizing their detrimental effects on development and stability. He stated, "We do not want military rule. Our development will be constrained. There is urgent need to address tenure elongation in West Africa. What we call rule of law has become rule of the rich and rule of the few."

Besides addressing political issues, Falana urged ECOWAS to put an end to the exploitative practices of colonial powers in the region. He called for a more equitable approach to the exploitation of mineral resources in African countries.

The West Africa Civil Society Week conference focused on the central role of civil society organizations in safeguarding democratic values, consolidating regional development, and navigating a complex contemporary landscape. Nana Afadzinu, the Executive Director of WACSI, highlighted the importance of democracy, good governance, and respect for constitutional rule in achieving peace, security, prosperity, and collective well-being in West Africa.

Afadzinu expressed concerns about the challenges faced by civil societies, including limited resources, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on institutions, and entrenched structural inequalities. She also emphasized the need to restore citizens' trust in ECOWAS as a regional economic and political body.

This call by Femi Falana adds to the growing voices calling for political reforms, regional cooperation, and democratic governance in West Africa. The implementation of term limits and the launch of the ECO currency have the potential to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic integration in the region.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-03 News

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