West African regional bloc ECOWAS has chosen Nigerian President Bola Tinubu as its new chairman at a time of deepening insecurity, including military coups and violent activity from armed groups in the region.
West Africa has witnessed six successful military coups since 2020, marking a backslide of democracy in a region that previously saw progress in shedding its “coup belt” moniker.
There was also an attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau whose president Umaro Sissoco Embalo passed on the rotational chairmanship of the bloc to Tinubu on Sunday after a vote.
The Nigerian president has called for swift action against insecurity and coups which he said had reached an “alarming proportion”.
“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilisation of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” he said in a statement on Monday.
Tinubu pledged to prioritise political stability, peace and security, and regional economic integration in the 16-member ECOWAS.
The chairmanship of the bloc, usually a one-year tenure, is rotated among members of the 16 countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).