President Julius Maada Bio and Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. Abass Bundu, on behalf of the People and Government of Sierra Leone, have formally endorsed MP Sidi M. Tunis to be Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament for the next four years, beginning February 2020.
The Sierra Leone Government selected and unveiled her choice for the Speakership among its five-member delegation to ECOWAS Parliament On Friday, September 13, 2019 at the Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville, to the rest of 110 MPs visiting from 13 West African Countries.
Accordingly, a Member State of the ECOWAS Parliament alphabetically holds the speakership for four years, to steer the affairs of the body. Therefore MP Tunis of Sierra Leone will take over from MP Moustapaha Cisse Lo of Senegal, whose speakership will expire on February 3, 2020.
The Speakership of Sierra Leone will run the ECOWAS Parliament from February 2020 to February 2024, after which, the Speakership will go to Togo. At that time, the Togolese Government will also select one of its members to the ECOWAS Parliament, to also become Speaker.
In a video message, President Bio said he has known MP Tunis to be a true leader and has chosen him to be Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.
The Sierra Leone Parliament Speaker, Dr. Bundu, said MP Tunis was unanimously voted upon, thus the Parliament had seconded their President's recommended candidate.
The Sierra Leone parliament consists of 146 members, of which 132 members are directly elected from across Sierra Leone's 16 Districts. The Parliament is led by Dr. Abass Bundu
Outgoing ECOWAS Parliament Speaker, Moustapaha Cisse Lo, in a special statement said the transition of the Speakership in the Parliament is part of the tenets of democracy and it is hoped that the members will peacefully co-exist in the region.
The Speaker of Liberia's House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers, said West Africa has the necessary natural resources and should therefore be guided like Germany and other countries.
The Secretary General of the Mano River Union, Medina Wesseh, said the endorsement occasion of the next Speaker of the ECOWAs Parliament, though largely symbolic, points to the important role of ECOWAS in the body politic of the continent, as arguably the most active and dynamic regional economic community seriously working toward the continental vision of agenda 2063 for one Africa.
She maintained that the ECOWAS Parliament is the crucible, where the legal framework to hasten and work seamlessly toward integration is foundational and intertwined with the other government bodies of the larger ECOWAS community.
She added that they did not find it "needless to remind ourselves of the critical role a speaker plays in the life of a parliament. We need now to be more equivocal, as we witness this transition per alphabetical order of transition in ECOWAS, to Sierra Leone, a member state of the Mano River union, she congratulated the government and people of Sierra Leone in that regard.
Liberia's Head of Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., in his welcome remarks, said the Presidents had agreed for an alphabetical arrangement and when it was decided, it started with the letter 'M.'
Rep. Snowe said Liberia awaits it turn but the Speakership of Sierra Leone is also Liberia's owing to the closeness.
The unveiling and endorsement of Mr. Tunis on Friday, September 13, was climaxed with a dinner and musical jamboree in which members of the Parliament danced to the tunes of various African music especially from Sierra Leone.