Akpabio Calls for West African Unity, Deepening of Regional Integration

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President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has said that the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) should be used to ensure unity and deepening of integration of the West African region.

In a welcome address titled: “A Call for West African Unity” which he delivered at the Inaugural Session of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, on Thursday in Abuja, Akpabio said it is through unity and solidarity that the region could overcome any adversity and achieve its shared goals.

The Senate President said: “Let us use ECOWAS to ensure that national boundaries are not Berlin walls separating kith and kin, but bridges of unity and progress.

“The road ahead is filled with new challenges and opportunities. Our task is to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors and to forge a path towards a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future.

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“We must strive to deepen regional integration, enhance trade and investment, and promote the free movement of goods, services, and people within our Community.

“Together, we can harness the power of collaboration, innovation, and dialogue to overcome the obstacles that lie before us.

“Let us remember that the strength of our Community lies in our diversity, and it is through unity and solidarity that we can overcome any adversity and achieve our shared goals.

“It is concerning that in spite of our region’s abundant natural resources and deep human capital, our region has not attained the heights envisioned by our founding fathers.”

Speaking on the achievements and progress made so far by the ECOWAS Parliament, Akpabio said: “through our collective efforts, we have fostered regional cooperation, promoted democracy, and strengthened governance across our member states.

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“We have worked tirelessly to address the challenges facing our region, from economic inequality to security threats, and have sought innovative solutions to foster sustainable development and prosperity for all.

“However, let us not rest on our laurels. Look around you and you would discover that some of the festering scars of colonialism have become the gangrenous sores of today.

“Colonial regimes created national boundaries which separated people and lumped people together with different cultures and traditions.”

The Senate President said the Inaugural Session of the Sixth Legislature, which was declared open by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, marked the birth of a new era, where critical procedures would be carried out to shape the future of the Community Parliament.

Akpabio expressed his heartfelt appreciation to President Tinubu who is the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his visionary leadership and for setting the stage for this historic gathering.

“It is courtesy of his unwavering commitment to the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament that we find ourselves here today, united in purpose and driven by the shared goal of regional integration and development.

“An old Italian proverb has it that the right man comes at the right season. This is the story of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, both as the President of Nigeria and as the Chairman of ECOWAS.

“Those who thought that he came to steady the ship of state have been sorely disappointed. He did not come to steady the ship of state, he came to steer the ship through rough and fair waters to the right direction and to the right destination.

“So, in spite of the bumps and craters, we are coasting home because of his deft handling of the affairs of the Nation,” he said.

The newly elected representatives for the the sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament took their oath during the opening session.

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