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Welcome, New Ecowas Chair!

Jun 8, 2016, 9:59 AM

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has got a new chairperson. This time around the mantle of leadership in the 41-year existence of the Community rests on the head of a female president, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

According to reports, President Sirleaf is the first female chair of the ECOWAS. This is understandable as almost all our heads of state in Africa over the age of ECOWAS have been male presidents.

Our core concern here is whether there will be any positive change of events in the ECOWAS member states under the leadership of a woman.

Though the chair’s tenure is just 12 months or one year – one could serve the role for up to two terms if he or she is re-elected by the other heads of state.

However, whether one or two terms, it is expected that good examples must be set for others to follow, in directing the affairs of the sub-region.

The last streak of the tenure of Johnson Sirleaf’s predecessor was somehow blotted by a serious regional squabble, of which he was one of the belligerent factors, when he is expected to lead by example or be the peacemaker of opposite or disagreeing sides in any incident.

It is believed that whoever mans that seat is considered the servant of all, as well asthe personevery other presidents shouldlook up tofor good standards in relation to African oneness, promotion of peace, and problem-solving; someone who is slow to anger.

West Africans and indeed Africans expect to see such attributes in their regional leaders. So we hope President Sirleaf, especially being a woman, would not fall victim of actions that are tantamount to eroding the African oneness and solidarity, however deep the misunderstanding may be.

We are also bringing to the attention of President Sirleaf some of the ‘innate’ problems bedeviling peace and development in Africa. They range from internal strife and external conflicts, to lack of respect for human rights and democratic values such as fair electioneering, freedom of expression, and free press.

These and other burning debilitating issues like poverty and the back-way migration through the Mediterranean of mainly African youths are concerns that need cogent attention from our leaders of whom President Johnson Sirleaf is today the kingpin.

“The best kind of parent you can be is to lead by example”

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