January 30, 2020

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo has asked Members of Parliament who wish to go home from the Gambia, venue of the ongoing Extraordinary Session, to do so.

The Speaker made this declaration after most members of parliament learnt their voices to a motion by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase which resulted in commotion.

Hon. Wase had insisted that the Session should be brought to an abrupt end on Wednesday, saying that the evaluation of the activities of the outgoing 4th Legislature, which according to him, formed the basis for the Extraordinary Session had already been concluded.

This resulted into a heated debate as other members sided with the Speaker, pointing out that some items in the program of event, were yet to be carried out.

They urged the parliamentarians to stick with the initial agenda set for the session rather than altering them.

At this point, the originator of the motion and Deputy Speaker of the Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Wase, flared up, accusing Speaker Cisse Lo of going against what had been agreed upon at the Bureau level the previous night.

“Mr Speaker, we need to respect ourselves on the manner with which we go about this. You are talking as if we are dragging this because we want to just leave. Let’s go through the agenda. My country’s resources and other country’s resources are being used for this program. I believe at the bureau, we had the opportunity to sit down and analyze and take a decision before coming to plenary. I am a deputy speaker of my own country’s Parliament, I know how things are done”.

“When I met you with this suggestion yesterday, all of you agreed we should bring it up here today; only for you to come now and talk as if there was no agreement. Is that the way things are done? You don’t run parliament on this manner.  All those who are now supporting you were part of those who agreed to this position yesterday. Is it because we want to take money that we designed the program? This is public funds! You must design things in such a way that you justify public funding”.

During the back and forth for almost an hour, Speaker Cissé-Lo moved that Parliament go into a closed door session and resolve the issue.

Emerging from the closed door, the Speaker urged members with contentions about going through with all the activities initially lined up for the 7day period slated for the Extraordinary  Session, to go home if they so desire.

He, thereafter, beckoned on the Secretary General, John Azumah, who read out the outlined program of event to the parliamentarians.

The Extraordinary Session comes to an end on Thursday, the 30th of January, 2020 after an in-camera meeting that got the meeting back after a brief suspension.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Banjul