CSOs want ECOWAS to adopt standards on presidential term extension

A Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), influencers and stakeholders have called on ECOWAS to adopt standards on presidential term extension in West Africa.

They made the call on a roundtable discussion organised by the Civic Mobilization campaign initiated and led by West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network WADEMOS/TLP in Abuja on Friday with the aim to discuss and explore ways to strengthen civic actors’ mobilization against presidential term extension in West Africa.

It was reported that bout 75% of citizens in 34 African countries favor limiting presidential mandates to two terms according to Afrobarometer. In West Africa, efforts to extend presidential terms have been more successful than unsuccessful, with the resulting elections won by the incumbent, especially within francophone countries.

The Network Coordinator of WADEMOS, Dr Paul Osei-Kuffor, in an interview explained that the roundtable was an effort to bring together predemocracy forces in the sub region to discuss one of the responses that has been on the table which is the unconstitutional changes in government and some of the democratic decline we have experienced in the subregion over the last 10years .

He said withh these, people are frustrated by unconstitutional coups, people attempting term elongations which triggers instability, violence leading to military coups .

“These has always been a trigger for retrogression. We think it’s time for civil society itself and citizens to voice their support for these rules to be adopted by ECOWAS.

“We consider it has essential if ecowas and heads if states to the people of west Africa that is not business as usual . They have to make a move.

“This is a start to bring people together to push for that. We will continue the agitation because we want ECOWAS to adopt standards on term limits, “he said .

Also, the WADEMOS Project coordinator Francophone, Marie Josiane Ngah said the meeting is part of the civic campaign where they mobilise all civic actors from the West Africa to discuss and find strategies for a way forward.

She called on the need for democracy actors to collaborate and synergise and have a bigger impact of the ECOWAS .

She said they aim to strengthen continued collaboration between civil society actors and other pre-democratic actors because we have activists , influencers who are committed to fight the institutionalization of term extension.

“It is about us strengthening our cooperation and reinforcing the synergy so that we can have bigger impact both at the National level, International level. ECOWAS needs to hear our voice that why we are here in Nigeria,” she said.

Also, the President of National Trade Association in Nigeria, Dr Ken Ukahoa
expressed concern that people just elect their parliamentarians without checks and balances and there is no process of knowing what they are representing us for and the politicians and heads of states capture them and put them in their pockets which rubbishes democracy .

He called for the need of Public Private Dialogues (PPD), where this kind of orientation brings up some sense of ownership by the people both the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary knows that we are working together for the people but this is lacked in West Africa.

Also, Coordinator Front Togo Debout, Prof David Dosseh said we need to have the courage to say democracy may not be a perfect system but not as bad as other systems we had in the civilian regimes .

UNI Agric Markurdi
Blueprint Whatsapp