Some Leaders of ECOWAS
Some Leaders of ECOWAS

Sub-regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is taking steps to build the capacity of legislative assemblies in member-countries to ensure that the expected outcomes are achieved.

Some Leaders of ECOWAS
Some Leaders of ECOWAS
In line with these efforts, a five-day capacity building workshop opened here on Monday for the legislatures of English-speaking assemblies in the sub-region.

Speaking to the media on the side of the opening ceremony, Prof. Victor Ayeni, Director of Governance & Management Services International (UK), added his voice to the call for quality representation.
He also called for the strengthening of the institution of legislature, as well as support to make it more business-like.

?The truth of the matter is, you have fairly good people, but you also have very embarrassing stories; and I think that is the way to put it, and, as I said, that is not the problem of the legislature itself,? the expert stated.

According to him, that situation existed as a result of the general political process practiced on the continent, urging the political party groupings to ensure that only those who were sure to deliver on their mandate creditably were nominated or elected as representatives.

?I was dealing with a group of people recently and we were dealing with a legislature that can barely write. You have a problem because everything you do in modern legislature is documents and reading stuff and being able to analyze them,? Prof. Ayeni lamented.

He also lamented the fact of people making parliament a gold mine while the generality of the citizens lived in abject poverty.

Prof. Ayeni stressed: ?The truth of the matter is that politics is not where people have to come and make wealth. Wealth should be somewhere else, and when society gets to that point, there is a big problem and that is a wider democratic cultural issue. And I think that also needs to be dealt with.?

The workshop has, among other things, the key objectives of enhancing the capacity of ECOWAS parliaments and National Assemblies to carry out effectively their mandate and responsibilities; fostering learning and sharing experiences among the legislators across the sub-region.

It is also aimed at enhancing the institutional capacities of the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), organizers of the workshop, which has been tasked by ECOWAS to help build the capacities of the legislatures across the sub-region.

Coffi Remy Noumon, Director for Operations and Manager for West and Central Africa of the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), said the efforts to build the capacity of the legislature was beginning to yield dividends.

?Not only from this project but other projects that we?ve been supporting for the parliament on the continent. One of the lessons that we learned and we were surprised to see was that legislators and parliamentary staff are very interested in evidence based policy making,? he stated.

Daniel Cardos, Deputy Clerk, Legislative Business, Projects and Programs, Parliament of The Gambia, said the capacity building process was very critical for the development of parliamentary democracy in the sub-region.

?Capacity building and also legislative performance and result-based management are becoming increasingly crucial to the development of parliamentary services. We hope to gain from this workshop knowledge, skills and approaches that will facilitate the process of achieving our anticipated development and growth of our parliaments.? Enditem

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