President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has been elected as the new Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional organisation of 15 countries in West Africa.
Tinubu was unanimously endorsed by his fellow leaders at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, which took place on Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau.
He succeeds President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau, who had served as the ECOWAS Chairman since February 2020.
In his acceptance speech, Tinubu expressed his gratitude for the trust and confidence bestowed on him, and pledged to work for the peace, stability and development of the region.
He said: “Indeed, I’m humbled and honoured by this trust, and want to assure you of my unalloyed commitment to provide the necessary leadership with dedication to serve the interest of the community.”
He also noted that the region was facing serious challenges such as terrorism, insecurity, poverty and climate change, and called for collective action from member-states to address them.
He said: “On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level, and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilisation of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity.”
Tinubu is the fifth Nigerian leader to chair ECOWAS since its inception in 1975. The previous ones were General Yakubu Gowon (1975-1976), General Muhammadu Buhari (1985-1986), General Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998-1999) and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2011).