Poor ECOWAS Parliamentary participation: Is direct Election the panacea?

By Odimmegwa Johnpeter/Abuja

As concerned stakeholders proffers solutions to the challenge facing the ECOWAS parliament, one of the solution to this malaise is a call for genuine discussions on direct elections. Accordingly the European Union went through similar experiences and eventually settled for direct elections. By this, Members of ECOWAS Parliament become full time employees and will devote full time for ECOWAS parliamentary work and can be sanctioned appropriately if absent. Though it will be more costly anyway and a further strain on the community budget but the advantages accruable is worth the financial implications. The present situation where members have to participate in political programmes of their respective political parties back at home at national and constituency levels can no longer suffice. It is instructive also that parliamentarians are also committee members in their respective parliaments and have obligations. Members therefore tend to be serving two masters at the same time. For instance, a member could risk not being elected if he focuses more on attendance at ECOWAS parliament and less in the National Parliament. This is really a difficult scenario that needs to be given further thought through debate in parliament as well as the level of the commission.