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Tinubu backs calls for direct election for ECOWAS parliamentarians

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President Bola Tinubu has pledged his support for a proposal for the direct election of members into the parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Swearing in 97 members into the 6th ECOWAS parliament at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on Thursday, President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said: “As a one-time legislator myself, I look forward to reviewing the proposal regarding this matter. We stand to support the direct elections into ECOWAS parliament”.

His comments came on the backdrop of the ECOWAS parliament being peopled by existing lawmakers from the 15 member states.

“The practice of directly electing public officers aligns with democratic principles, principles that Nigeria upholds. This principle is also in line with the spirit of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance.

“We believe this will ensure that citizens will have a direct say in their representation and the legitimacy and credibility it will provide”, the President said.

He assured members of the sixth ECOWAS Parliament that Nigeria, as host of the community, “will continue to support you to achieve your objectives.”

The parliament is composed of 115 seats. Each member state has a guaranteed minimum of five seats, while the remaining 40 seats are shared based on population.

They include 35 members from Nigeria and five each from the Benin Republic, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leon, and Togo.

Others include eight members from Ghana, seven from Cote d’Ivoire, and six each from Senegal and Guinea.

Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have no representatives in the sixth parliament, as these states have expressed their intention to exit the bloc.

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