President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, advocated the restructuring of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) amid his seeming objection to similar clamour by Nigerians.
He urged the regional body to streamline its management in a way that would conform with current realities.
Buhari’s demand was contained in his presentation to the virtual 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
The Nigerian leader argued there was a need for a lean and compact leadership in ECOWAS to enhance its efficiency and performance.
Buhari said the restructuring would eliminate overlap and the tussle between the large statutory appointees, as well as reduce personnel and overhead costs that could be channeled to projects.
”The African Union, our larger continental organization of 55 members, has pruned down its commissioners to only six. Hence, there’s no basis whatsoever, for ECOWAS, with only 15 members, to maintain 13 commissioners and 10 other statutory appointees,” he stated.
Nigeria’s suggestion, according to him, was the immediate appointment of a ministerial ad hoc committee to review the proposal of the Maxwells Temp Report and submit a recommendation at the mid-year summit.
The President noted that if some countries oppose his opinion, each member state must sponsor its own statutory appointee like what obtains in other organizations such as the European Union and others.
ND REPORTERS reports that Buhari’s comments came on the same day the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dared leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to make pronouncements on Buhari’s “decision to go back on the campaign promise of restructuring”.
It mentioned Caretaker Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni; National Leader, Bola Tinubu; Governors Nasir el-Rufai and Kayode Fayemi; Ministers Rotimi Amaechi and Lai Mohammed.
The PDP threw up the challenge after the remark by Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, that restructuring as promised by the APC was only a “slogan”.
The opposition stressed that APC’s inaction on restructuring and declaration by the Buhari presidency that Nigerians should channel their demands to the National Assembly validates the belief that the party only wanted power in 2015.
PDP said it was aware of “plots by certain APC leaders to condemn President Buhari as being singularly responsible for the failures of his administration and use such a narrative to beguile Nigerians again with another round of fake promises on restructuring.”
Last year, Buhari, through his spokesman Garba Shehu, vowed not to succumb to “threats and pressure” over the issue.
The reaction was sequel to the call for restructuring by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
Buhari will not restructure Nigeria – Presidency replies Adeboye, others
The revered Christian leader said returning Nigeria to the regional system of government would forestall the possibility of a split.
The presidency damned the “recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language “the nation will break up.”
Shehu said “unpatriotic outbursts are unhelpful and unwarranted”, and declared that the Buhari administration “will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure”
Many Nigerians and organisations, including the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) have also condemned the position of the presidency..