Civil Societies Seek End to Political Disruptions of Economic Growth in ECOWAS

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The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) has commenced advocacy to stem political disruptions of economies of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) member-countries.

WACSOF said it plans to campaign against undemocratic tendencies of leaders who seek to perpetuate themselves in power through tenure elongation.

The organisation`s Acting General Secretary, Mr Auwal Musa, said this at a pre-event briefing towards the upcoming sixth WACSOF Biennial Peoples Forum in Abuja on Friday.

Musa said it was important for Civil Society Organisations to work with the ECOWAS Commission to enable it meet its mandate and vision of regional integration.

He added that free movement in the West African sub-region would go a long way in promoting trade relations and overall wellbeing of the area and its populace.

Musa said the organisation was exploring new opportunities to enable it meet its target of overseeing and monitoring regional integration processes.

He said tenure elongation has been seen as one of the challenges of democracy and strengthened governance among member- states.

“Part of our mandate, as the recognised umbrella body for civil society in the region, is to particularly engage with ECOWAS to enable it strengthen its role effectively.

“We are working to ensure that member- countries abide by the tenets of democracy and good governance; we are working to see that there are free elections and leaders have tenure limits.

“We are also advocating for regional integration to ensure that countries abide by the ECOWAS Charter on Democracy, Peace and Security and Vision 2020, “ he said.

He said the aim of the forum was to gather representatives of CSOs from across the 15 member-states to provide updated information on ECOWAS Regional Integration Agenda.

He said the forum would also update participants on developments on the Community Strategy Framework of ECOWAS and elaborate the role CSOs could play.

He said WACSOF has faced some challenges over the years in carrying out its mandate to play a complementary role to ECOWAS, adding that efforts are being made to address these challenges.

He stressed the need to overcome the lack of institutional support as this is one of the prerequisites to overcoming the challenges of WACSOF.

He said it is commonplace to find states signing on to international conventions, while it takes some decades to ratify.

He urged regional leaders to demonstrate adequate political will towards implementing the protocols on transparency and accountability.

The acting secretary general urged young people to be actively involved in electoral processes, saying that the future belongs to them.

He called on member-countries to have laws prohibiting early marriage, stressing that all female children should have a minimum of secondary school certificate before going for marriage.

Speaking on effects of climate change on Lake Chad, Musa commended the Joint Task Force for securing the area, while calling for more deliberate efforts to save it from depletion.

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