Former Nigeria Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon yesterday expressed confidence that the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) will continue to wax stronger even as it has clocked 40 years of it existence Gowon, one of the founding fathers of the multi-national organisation during one of the commemorative events of ECOWAS at 40 organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urged ECOWAS countries to maintain the achievements the organization has recorded so far after 40 years. According to him, life begins at forty.
He said, “Whatever it is, ECOWAS is evolving. It is not static. We are going to continue on improving it. From its inception till now we have gotten so many protocols.
Is it in Defence, security, politics, finance and common passport? We have done well. We are virtually getting the economic line of it.
What is now left is to get the political line right for the future so that at the end will can be one people, one country. “ “We have survived 40 years and this brings to the fore that life begins at 40.
The attainment landmark at 40 is to maintain the achievements. We should look to the future. Our coming together has helped us to deal with the suspicion of the Anglophone and Francophone countries.
ECOWAS has attained political maturity. The democratic governance has taken over the member states,” he added. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali said ECOWAS achievements shows how progressive ECOWAS has been since inception.
“It has been transformed from a community of peoples coming out of grips of colonialism and attempting to integrate themselves into a community of economy; a community of peoples, rather than simply being an inter-governmental organization,” he said. He also assured Nigeria commitment in fostering the political integration in the sub-region.
“Let me re-assure that Nigeria remains totally committed to the cause of ECOWAS integration process and to reiterate that we will continue to advance the cause of democracy and good governance within the community.”
“This aptly has been demonstrated by President Goodluck Jonathan in his peace and security initiatives and engagements in the sub-region and the exemplary conduct of the recently – concluded elections in Nigeria,” he added.
Minister of State 11 Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro said that ECOWAS has in spite of several challenges acquainted itself creditably in the execution of its mandate in economic integration.
SEE Some photos from the event.