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No generation would forgive the breakup of the ECOWAS Community – Gen. Gowon

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Gowon ECOWAS
Gowon in a press conference

Former Nigerian Head of State and surviving founder of the ECOWAS, Gen Yakubu Gowon, has expressed sadness over the recent developments in the West African region. He said his displeasure in an open letter to all African leaders yesterday. 

He said since the bloc’s creation, the region had achieved a lot, which was why it became essential for him, as one of the founding leaders, to speak about the region’s current state.

Gowon called on all the ECOWAS authorities, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, to unite for the peace and stability of the region because the current state of the bloc would have reaching consequences on citizens. 

“I have noted with deep concern and sadness the past and recent developments unfolding in the West African sub-region, particularly the pronouncement by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger of their intention to exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“Since its inception, the regional bloc has had many significant accomplishments, including trade liberalisation, the right of West Africans to live legitimately in any country within the Community, and successful peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone,” the letter read in parts. 

He said despite ECOWAS’s shortcomings, it became an example of regional integration for the continent. Gowon urged the leadership of the ECOWAS to reverse all sanctions placed on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, among other suggestions. 

“Therefore, on behalf of all the founding fathers of the Community and myself, I urge the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, including the leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, to put aside their differences and reunite for the peace, stability and prosperity of our sub-region. I call on all West African leaders to immediately consider the implementation of the following:

  • Lifting of all sanctions that have been imposed on Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger;
  • Withdrawal by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger of their notices to leave ECOWAS; and
  • Participation of all 15 ECOWAS Heads of State in a Summit to discuss the Community, regional security and stability, and the international community given the current geopolitical context.”

The Rtd Gen emphasised that ECOWAS is more than a coalition of states but a community established for the people’s good based on shared history, culture and tradition. He said no generation would forgive the breakup of the ECOWAS community. 

Meanwhile, several reactions have trailed the trending video of Gowon being persuaded to read his speech in Hausa during a press conference. The Rtd Gen said he had spoken more English over eight years. He called the action a coup and declined to deliver the speech again in Hausa.

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