DAILY GRAPHIC, MONDAY APRIL 26, 2010 PAGE 14
BY CHRIS NUNOO, WA
Communities of the member states of the economic community of west African states (ECOWAS) would, by the end of this year, be give the opportunity to participate fully in the activities of the ecowas parliament.
This, according to the leader of Ghana’s delegation to the ecowas parliament, Mr. John Tial Akologo, is to make the ecowas parliament more transparent and a participator one with electoral process which would ensure proper grass roots representation.
To this end , he said citizens of all member states shall be eligible to contest elections to be members of the ecowas parliament through the adoption of a system code-named “direct universal adult suffrage”.
Presently, that privilege is bestowed only on elected national parliamentarians.
Mr. akologo who was addressing a sensitisation forum on the ecowas parliament in another that the involvement of the citizenry in the deliberations of the ecowas parliament would make the organisation more prominent in the process of regional integration.
He added that a subcommittee on the election of members had opted to abide by electoral laws of the respective member countries as the mode of elections for members of the community who would contest to joint the parliament.
The electoral bodies of the respective member countries would be responsible for the declination of national exigencies while having due regard to 30 per cent gender balance, he emphasised.
Mr Akologo who is also the Minster Of Information, was hopeful that the parliament would adopt the proposals made under the universal adult suffrage next month when the house would reconvene.
That, according to him, would give the Ecowas parliament a more concrete and actual legislative powers other that just an advisory body, to make it more purposeful and to enhance the quality of democratic practices in the sub-region.
Mr. Akologo said ECOWAS was formed by 15 member states about 40years ago, and the ECOWAS parliament created 10years ago also had representations form members states national parliament. He said the aim of the sub-regional body was to foster co-operation and development among member states with respect to economic activities and regional integration among other issues.
Responding to questions, the minister promised to capture the issue of Fulani herdsmen and the recent boundary issues with neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire in its country report to be submitted to the house when it reconvenes in Abuja Nigeria next month, for advice.