Obanikoro, who made the disclosure yesterday in Gombe State at the opening session of the media sensitisation programme to flag-off ECOWAS 40th anniversary with theme “The Role of Media in Deepening Democracy and De-escalating Violent Conflicts” said peace is a pre-requisite for sustainable development.
According to him, I strongly have the opinion that community citizens should be proud of the many achievements recorded by ECOWAS commission so far.
“In the area of peace support operations and the fight against trans-national organised crimes, the sub-region has not only recorded commendable results but has also developed models that have remained point of reference for other Regional Economic Cooperation (REC).
“Furthermore, in the area of democracy and good governance, the sub-region has continued to demonstrate, in practical terms , its zero tolerance to undemocratic ascension to power and further assisted member states in ensuring that democracy and its processes are sustained.
“In the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, the commission has equally recorded great achievements. In fact, it has put in place functional mechanism in terms of legally binding protocols and institutional frameworks to understanding and addressing the ever-changing dynamics and trends of violent conflicts,” he said.
He posited that Nigeria remains a role model to the sub-region in democratic practice, taking cognizance of the last elections which went peacefully.
According to him, the media should propagate the recent lessons learnt from Nigeria as an exemplary leader in the sub-region.
“Nigeria is a very strategic member of ECOWAS. Also, it has recent experience to share, lessons to learn and best practices to propagate as far as the concepts of democracy and violent conflicts are concerned.
“Therefore, the media is in a better position to tell the story to enable us ( Nigerians) in particular and other community citizens in general appreciate our contributions and roles in the sustenance or otherwise of the democracy and violent and conflict,” he added.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb B. Lolo, who was represented by Amb. Saleh Manu, said one of the greatest achievements of ECOWAS was the sustenance of the integration arrangement over the decades.
“We are proud and highly elated to be part of this success story, and Nigeria’s participation and commitment has remained incredible,” he said.
Speaking, the Governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Jason Rubainu, thanked the Federal Government for choosing the state to flag-off the commemoration of the anniversary.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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