Before I tell you why I think I should be president of ECOWAS, I should tell you some things first. You see, every so often, my mind goes back to something I read in a fiction novel. For the life of me, I can’t remember the title of the book. Maybe one day, I will get the time to review my bookshelf on Goodreads. Anyhoos, in this book, there was a war between two empires and one of the empires sent emissaries to another empire asking for help.
This is the bit that stayed with me . . . in this empire, where the emissaries went to seek help from, the ruler was a woman but her husband was the war general and her sons were in their army. The Empress said to the emissaries that she didn’t just consider herself ruler, she considered herself the mother of everyone in her empire. So, before she would decide whether or not to help them, she needed to decide whether helping them was the best thing for her empire. She went on to say that she had no desire to endanger her husband or sons needlessly.
This then reminded me of a movie I watched as a teenager, The Odyssey. The Odyssey is definitely one of the best movies I have watched in my entire life. One of the things I loved about the movie was that King Odysseus of Ithaca, though a King, also went to war front with his men, to protect his land and people. He wasn’t the kind of King to let other people’s children take risks he was not prepared to take.
As I got older, I wondered why Kings and Presidents weren’t at the fore of wars they send other people’s children to. I mean, doesn’t it make sense? If you as a ruler, appointed to protect and defend a people feel war was necessary, shouldn’t you be leading the way or asking your children to take part? Or is it a case of all citizens are equal but some citizens are more equal than others?
The news coming out of Africa with regards to slave auctions have been very disturbing. But the worst part is the lack of action by African leaders. I listened to a speech by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I was truly disappointed. It was a very political speech filled with promises but no concrete plan of action. I would have loved to share the link to the speech but I can’t find it on Twitter now.
What is ECOWAS?
Since its creation on 28 May 1975, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been promoting economic cooperation and regional integration as a tool for an accelerated development of the West African economy. Regional integration remains the most viable and appropriate tool for achieving and accelerating sustainable development of the West African countries.
Consequently, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government reaffirmed its commitment to improve the West Africa integration process while enhancing its effectiveness.
To achieve this objective, the Authority adopted a resolution in June 2007 to introduce the transformational ECOWAS Vision 2020. The ECOWAS Vision 2020 is aimed at setting a clear direction and goal to significantly raise the standard of living of the people through conscious and inclusive programmes that will guarantee a bright future for West Africa and -shape the destiny of the region for many years to come. In this connection, the President of the ECOWAS Commission was directed to mobilize the citizens of the region to the vision, and help to achieve it by 2020.
It is gratifying that the visioning process has achieved remarkable progress, culminating in the formulation and preparation of this Vision Document. This accomplishment represents a significant step, given the commendable effort to involve all relevant stakeholders in the visioning process. This involvement within and outside government machinery, augurs well for the achievement of our common objective of a much better West Africa.
The Idea is to make the ECOWAS Vision 2020 a people’s document and make both the region’s integration and development process people-centered and people-driven. This paradigm shift in attitudes and institutional orientation is vital if the region is to create an environment in which the business community and the general public will have a shared vision and work together to realize the development aspirations of the people and achieve equitable and broad-based growth, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The Vision Document is also emphatic and unequivocal about the other changes to be made in the way the political and socio-economic life of the region is viewed and managed. It constitutes the necessary and vital new orientations that must be embraced by West African to successfully bring an end to poverty and deprivation.
As clearly enunciated in the document, the Vision 2020 is feasible and realizable. For it to happen, all stakeholders in the West African enterprise need to make required changes in their policy formulation and implementation, as well as their institutional capacity.
In Africa as a continent, I have found that a lot of countries located in the northern half of the continent do not consider themselves Africans. South Africans don’t like other Africans as seen in a number of xenophobic attacks on other Africans. It may seem like a generalisation but I have to have an exclusion criteria. This leaves the east African region and West African region. Considering I know next to nothing about east Africans, I don’t think I would be the best person to represent them.
A lot of the countries in West Africa have similar cultures, so I feel I can relate to a lot of West Africans.
ECOWAS and Slave trade in Libya
On the ECOWAS website, this is what they have to say with regards to the selling of Africans as slaves in Libya:
|The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has learned with dismay of the auction of African migrants as slaves in Libyan territory.
The ECOWAS Commission, strongly outraged by this inhuman and despicable practice, condemns unreservedly such acts which recall the dark hours in the history of mankind.
It condemns all forms of assault on the dignity and integrity of human beings wherever they may be. It appeals to the Libyan Government and the international community to urgently take all necessary steps to put an end to this despicable act. Furthermore, it invites them to find and prosecute those guilty of this crime against humanity.
The ECOWAS Commission reaffirms its continued and firm commitment to combat human trafficking in accordance with its policy and international obligations.
Done in Abuja this 19th day of November 2017
What do you think of their statement?
For a commission that represents 15 African countries, I find it highly despicable that the commission is appealing to the Libyan Government and the international community to put an end to the horrendous depravity that its children are being subjected to. As a mother, this truly breaks my heart.
I should be President of ECOWAS
I am not a politician and I have no desire to be a politician but I imagine that if by some twist of fate I found myself in an alternate dimension where I was simply made President of ECOWAS, I would do a marvellous job.
For starts, I would think of myself as Mother of ECOWAS. This means that everyone in a West African country was my child. I would not rule democratically, mine would be a semi-democracy. I have a 3yo little girl, imagine if my household was a full democracy:
me: what would you like for dinner baby?
my 3yo: chocolate!
My personal opinion is that African is not yet ready for democracy.
Should I be President of ECOWAS today I would lead based on Parental Responsibility. Everything we do as human beings ensure the survival of our species. If we do not grow crops today, there won’t be food tomorrow. This basically means that we have to start investing today to reap the returns tomorrow.
What is Parental Responsibility?
If you have parental responsibility, your most important roles are to:
- provide a home for the child
- protect and maintain the child
You’re also responsible for:
- disciplining the child
- choosing and providing for the child’s education
- agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
So it goes without saying that as President of ECOWAS, it is my responsibility to provide and protect every ECOWAS citizen. In line with my Parental Responsibility here are somethings I would do:
- Invite every West African citizen not living in West Africa to return home to invest. I would focus on the brains that were drained by other countries from engineers to doctors. We would focus on agriculture and healthcare. Unlike a certain president, who is way past retirement age, that took a country’s private jet and went to another continent for several months for medical treatment where the cost of parking said jet was astronomical. I mean, any president should be ashamed of the fact that he has the choice to go abroad for medical treatment but the average citizen doesn’t have that freedom. If I were president, I would invest in healthcare so that my household and everyone else would be proud to use the facilities in our country. Why should I use public money to access things that the average person can’t? Totally ridiculous!
- It is my responsibility to protect my citizens. So when something as ridiculous as Africans being sold as slaves comes to my hearing, especially on African soil, I would bring down thunder on the perpetrators. I would not appeal to anyone to do something about it. I would issue the Libyan government with an ultimatum; get my children released and back into my custody or face the full wrath of the ECOWAS. I would not need the international community to take action on my behalf. The Libyan government would have two choices: sort out your citizens and return mine to me or face military action!!!
These are just some of the things I would do but I guess there’s a reason I’m not President of ECOWAS.
I’m trying to imagine the scenario where some idiot persons attempt to torture a British citizen . . . The Queen would topple their government and they would not even know what happened. Seriously, this is why women should be in power!
Anyhoos, thanks for reading so far. I just needed to vent and let off steam at my annoyance that the powers in Africa do not have enough balls to protect their citizens.
If you were President of ECOWAS, what would you do differently? Please leave a comment below 😀