June 19, 2022

A member of the Nigerian delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Awaji-Inombek D. Abiante said the absence of majority of his colleagues from Nigeria at the ongoing 2022 Frist Ordinary Session is a matter of concern.
According to him, they would have to engage their colleagues to participate actively but was quick to point out that journalists who cover the Community parliament also have the opportunity to speak to their leaders on the subject matter.
In an interview Ghanamps.com sought to find out how come since the Session started out of the thirty five (35) slot Nigeria has, each day more than eight (8) lawmakers cannot be countered,  “yet you always present seat through to the end?”
“I have people who are chairmen and members of the Bureau, I am just an ordinary member, they carry more weight and should carry more responsibilities. The first Deputy Speaker is my leader and a member of my parliament probably as part of your contribution towards solving this problem you can also get him engaged”.
Again, tell him these are your observations and find out what can be done to help change the narrative. “It’s really embarrassing if issue of Nigeria comes up how many of us are here to even listen, we should listen and get something back home. I am not talking of interventions, it is a concern to me as a person and I am sure it is the same for any other person”.
He added that, like it was pointed out on Saturday, “what is your brand, what would you be known for, I am me, I do not want to be another person so any assignment I find myself I want to do it with all my heart”, he said.
He further pointed out that it’s not only about Nigeria but attendance issue is a huge challenge because other MPs form other member states also do not take attendance serious, and called for re-tooling for them to consider their procedure programme to be much more effective.
Also when the president of the commission made his presentation parliament was in a hurry to close the issues and move on and think they need to revisit their procedure so that when they have a presentation enough opportunities should be given for interrogation.
And it is in debate that you find the best out of the best in issue. One could be contentious and contradictory issues, there could be controversial issues, but when subjected to adequate debate the best options would be picked out; one can report them back to their home government and the commission.
Take for instance the Liberian health sector, subject it to debate and let us have divers opinions, contradictory opinion at the end of the day, MP’s from Liberia would see reason; they might find alternative means and get to understand best practices as applicable in other countries and would take such home.
As in their country report, their health sector 71 percent of the funds are donor driven and if it means haven to review laws you can compare other legislation in other member states.
“I do not know whether we are gaining or losing grounds; it was one country, it became two, it became three, the ternate of democracy as define by their own laws I was being told this morning that Senegal that we were praising, when they presented their country report that there are some issues in the home front. Protest, and this is how it starts if as parliament we cannot be very decisive as giving out options and alternatives to ensure that this democracy that we have is sustained across the member states”.
He said he is happy that democracy has come to stay and there is the saying that, “ the worse of democracy is better than any other form of government. There is the need for MPs to retool to guarantee the confidence of the people who are here”.
Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Abuja-Nigeria