New ECOWAS Commission president, Omar Alieu Touray has assumed office along with other equally new statutory appointees of the commission.
Touray who hails from Gambia is expected to pilot the affairs of the commission alongside the new management for a four-year term – 2022 to 2026.
Speaking in his inaugural remark, Touray pledged to build on the legacies and successes of the outgoing President, Jean-Claude Brou and his team to ensure a more sustainable and secure West African sub-region.
He spoke of the need for institutional reforms, payment of community levies by ECOWAS member states, and the collaboration of citizens to address the challenges confronting the region.
He also called for the collaboration and partnership between ECOWAS institutions and governments to lift community citizens out of abject poverty.
Touray expressed appreciation to the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of Stat and Government for unanimously endorsing his bid for the presidency of the commission and the government of the Gambia for nominating him.
“For our member countries who are represented here by their permanent representatives to ECOWAS institutions, I would like to thank you for the confidence you have imposed in my colleagues and me.
“On behalf of my colleagues, I renew our commitments to work diligently for the welfare of our community.
“At the same time, I call upon you to continue to support ECOWAS by ensuring the full payment of community levies and the full implementation of ECOWAS protocols.
“You as permanent representatives of your various countries to ECOWAS is important and we look forward to deeper collaboration.
“Our multilateral and bilateral partners will all agree that no time has partnership been so important than now.
“The insecurity we face at various levels will require deeper partnerships and consistent collaboration.
“Our partnership should therefore be sufficiently equitable and efficient to enable us lift our people from abject poverty through capacity building, investment.
“Most importantly our partnership should enable us achieve lasting peace, security across the region and across the African continent.
“Allow me to reiterate the importance our leaders attach to institutional reforms. These reforms must be expedited to ensure more effective and efficient community institutions.
“Reforms entails trust, entails taking top positions but we are confident that with the full support and collaboration of staff and Member States, we will be able to the process to its logical conclusion,” Touray said.
Touray thanked the Nigerian government for being a generous host to ECOWAS institutions and for also providing leadership aimed at promoting ECOWAS’ integration and peaceful efforts.
Brou in his valedictory remarks said that the region under his leadership experienced a deepening and strengthened democratic culture despite the unconstitutional change of government in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.
He, however, bemoaned the spate of terrorist attacks and insecurity in member states which he said has resulted in more than 14,000 deaths and no fewer than five million ECOWAS citizens in need of humanitarian assistance.
He urged community citizens to remain united and to extend their support to the incoming management.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affair, Zubairu Dada also commended the Brou and the outgoing management of the ECOWAS Commission for a job well done amid all the challenges.
Dada also urged Touray and his new team to put the interest of the region ahead of other interest while dispensing their duties.
He also tasked them to carry out internal and external reforms, and meet the African Union and United Nations agendas for ECOWAS.
Touray alongside the new management of the Commission were named at the just concluded 61 Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and government on July 3 in Accra, Ghana.