The newly elected President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, says notwithstanding the serious challenges ahead of him, he will rely on his experience to enable him function to justify the confidence reposed in him.
Ambassador Gbeho told the Presidential Press Corps in Abuja, after his election to the high office, “I know there are challenges but I will take them with all the difficulties they entail.”
He was elected on Tuesday at the 37th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abuja, Nigeria. The former Foreign Minister takes over the Commission to complete the tenure of another Ghanaian, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who is expected to take up a new role as head of the 79 member Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group on March 1, 2010.
Dr Ibn Chambas’s tenure at ECOWAS was to end in December 2010. Ambassador Gbeho said the commission was in some difficulties as far as integration, peace and governance were concerned and stressed that those would be tackled with the support of all stakeholders.
According to him, another area of attention would be to reduce poverty and create a peaceful environment to enable each and everyone to go about his or her duties without let or hindrance.
He said this week, for instance, ECOWAS would hold talks with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to rescind its decision to suspend Togo from participating in CAF organized programmes for four years.
He expressed particular concern over the negative developments in Niger, noting that in spite of the fact that many mediatory moves had been made since last year, no progress had been made.
Ambassador Gbeho said the Commission would also direct its searchlight on Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, among others, and ensure that the elections billed for those countries were free, fair and transparent. He, however, acknowledged the sovereignty of nations, saying ECOWAS would not interfere unnecessarily in the affairs of those countries facing some challenges but engage with stakeholders to resolve the difficulties.
“Let me make it clear, however, that I am not coming with a magic wand to solve all problems. Rather, I will consult with others and not shoot my mouth that I will do this or that,” he said.
On drugs and crime, he expressed worry over the way the sub-region, in the last few years, had been transformed from being a transit point to a consumer sub-region, saying, “We have to pay greater attention to this and other organized crimes.”
Ambassador Gbeho paid tribute to his predecessor, Dr Ibn Chambas, saying, “I had a lot of trepidation when I was put up by President John Evans Atta Mills to wear Dr Chambas’s shoes because he recorded significant progress which will be difficult to match.”
Source: Daily Graphic /Ghana
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