Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been elected the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African Communities (ECOWAS) in Togo’s capital Lome. Preceding the Heads of State summit was a joint summit between ECOWAS and the Central African bloc, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). At the heart of deliberations were: security, peace and stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The African Union chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat was also in attendance. A communique issued at the close of the summit said its aim “was to create conditions for sustainable peace and a secured environment in the common area of the two regions.”
Truly humbled by my election today as the new Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS. I pledge to serve and work with my fellow Heads of State to deliver on peace, security, good governance and socio-economic development in the region. pic.twitter.com/SsZnVNaEun
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) July 31, 2018
Heads of State Represented
ECOWAS: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
ECCAS: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.
What it means for Nigeria according to Stears
The position is largely ceremonial and lasts for a year. It involves organising ECOWAS meetings, coordinating responses to issues that arise and in most cases, mediating over potential conflicts. The position also affects other arms of the ECOWAS architecture, such as the Council of Ministers and other statutory meetings. Nigeria, by virtue of producing the Chairman, will now chair these meetings. This is an opportunity for the country to implement strong foreign and trade policy in the region. The position is for the country more than the individual. Both Buhari in 1985, and Yar’Adua in 2010 began terms as ECOWAS Chairmen, and upon their departure from office, the role simply moved on to Babangida and Jonathan respectfully.