ABUJA, Nigeria, November 7, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Crucial issues bordering on elections and stability in the ECOWAS region formed the fulcrum of deliberations during the quarterly thematic briefing session with ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States on the 5th of November 2019, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The interface between the ECOWAS Commission and the Ambassadors examined the outlook for year 2020, specifically with regards to matters having to do with peace and security before, during and after transition periods in the region. Presidential elections are billed to hold in six ECOWAS Member States in 2020. They are Togo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger.
Welcoming delegates to the meeting, the Commissioner of Political Affairs Peace and Security of the ECOWAS, Gen Francis Behanzin drew attention to the overriding need to strengthen democratic institutions in Member states towards ensuring that best practices prevail in the electioneering processes.
According to him, the thematic meeting presented a good opportunity to proffer solutions and to chart the best roadmap in the quest for lasting peace in the region.
On the daunting task of ensuring credible elections under a tranquil atmosphere, despite the often tensed political climate, Commissioner Behanzin assured the Ambassadors that the ECOWAS, through its Department of Political Affairs Peace and Security is doing all it can to work with all stakeholders towards making the democratic processes more people-centred, peaceful and at the same time ensuring a reduction of risk factors and other incidences en route the main elections.
He restated the importance of brainstorming under the umbrella of the thematic briefings in order to meet all the identified challenges, stressing that conflicts can be minimised during the processes with the willingness of Member States to respect democratic principles.
Declaring the meeting open, the Chair of the Mediation and Security Council at Ambassadorial level and Niger’s ambassador to ECOWAS and Nigeria Mr. Alat Mogaskia, commended the consistent collaboration between the permanent representatives as ambassadors and the ECOWAS Commission on the desire to improve regional security.
He noted that peace and security is a sine qua non in the attainment of the integration goals of the regional community.
Ambassador Mogaskia maintained that this understanding has propelled the chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and President of Niger H. E Mahamadou Issoufou to prioritize democratisation and good governance in the region both in practice and advocacy.
He stressed that besides cooperating with the Commission, the modest contribution towards the holding of credible elections will go a long way in ensuring that the place of ECOWAS is kept as a viable economic community.
The thematic meeting featured plenary presentations by ECOWAS Member States’ Ambassadors on the upcoming 2019-2020 presidential elections in the region as well as on the Civil Society Organisations’ support to the regional election processes by the West African Network for Peace building (WANEP).
There were also briefings by the ECOWAS’ Electoral Assistance Division as well as updates on regional peace and security by the Directorates of Political Affairs, Peacekeeping and Regional Security and of Early Warning.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the Ecowas Commission.