By Lindiwe Nkosi Jul, 8 2024
President Tinubu Re-Elected ECOWAS Chairperson, Calls for Strengthened Regional Force and Security

President Tinubu's Re-Election and Key Messages

In a significant development for West Africa, President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has once again been elected to serve as the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The re-election took place during the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held on July 7, 2024, in Abuja, Nigeria's bustling capital city. Tinubu’s re-election underscores his enduring influence and leadership within the region.

During the session, President Tinubu placed heavy emphasis on the region’s growing security challenges. He called for a concerted effort among West African leaders to establish and effectively sustain a regional standby force. According to Tinubu, this regional force is essential for combating security threats and fostering economic advancement across member states. His call highlights the pressing need for unity and coordinated action to address the complexities of security threats which range from terrorism to humanitarian crises.

The Need for a Regional Standby Force

President Tinubu reiterated the importance of a regional standby force, which he linked to the Regional Action Plan against Terrorism. This plan has already shown promising steps towards enhancing regional cooperation through training, intelligence sharing, and humanitarian interventions. However, Tinubu stressed that to truly safeguard the region, ECOWAS countries must step up their commitments.

The proposed standby force, officially known as the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), requires robust political will and substantial financial resources to be effective. Tinubu urged individual member states to increase their defense budgets specifically to procure the necessary equipment and ensure their forces are battle-ready. This allocation of resources is not just a financial commitment but also a strategic maneuver to ensure preparedness in face of ever-evolving security threats.

Leveraging Nigeria's National Counter-Terrorism Centre

In his address, President Tinubu also highlighted the role of Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in the collective fight against terrorism. He encouraged other ECOWAS member states to leverage the capabilities and expertise of the NCTC. By doing so, the NCTC could act as a regional hub for counter-terrorism training, intelligence operations, and coordination of multinational anti-terrorism efforts.

Such collaboration would not only enhance the region's ability to combat terrorism but also improve the overall security landscape of West Africa. The sharing of intelligence and best practices could lead to more effective and timely responses to threats, ultimately saving lives and maintaining peace.

Economic and Social Implications

Economic and Social Implications

President Tinubu did not limit his speech to security concerns alone. He underscored the intrinsic link between security and economic prosperity. A secure region, after all, is a prerequisite for economic growth and development. Tinubu pointed out that an effective standby force would create a conducive environment for economic activities to flourish, thereby uplifting the standard of living across West African nations.

The President emphasized that economic advancement in the region heavily relies on the stability and security of its countries. By mitigating security risks through a regional approach, ECOWAS can pave the way for better trade, investment, and infrastructural development. Additionally, such stability would likely attract foreign investments, contributing further to economic growth.

Call for Increased Defense Budgets and Resource Allocation

One of the critical points President Tinubu made was the need for increased defense budgets among ECOWAS member states. He stressed that the current financial allocations are insufficient to address the growing threats. Each member state, according to Tinubu, must reassess its defense spending to ensure they are contributing adequately to the regional security efforts.

Moreover, Tinubu called for better resource management and accountability. Proper allocation and use of resources would not only enhance the region's defensive capabilities but also build trust among member states and their citizens. It's about creating a transparent and efficient system that can respond swiftly and effectively to security challenges.

Importance of Political Will

Importance of Political Will

Beyond financial resources, President Tinubu stressed the necessity of strong political will. Without the unwavering commitment of regional leaders, the dream of an effective standby force would remain just that—a dream. Tinubu urged his counterparts to demonstrate their commitment by actively participating in and supporting the initiatives proposed under the Regional Action Plan against Terrorism.

This call for political will extends beyond mere rhetoric. It involves making tough decisions, prioritizing security over less pressing issues, and being ready to collaborate across borders. The collective effort of ECOWAS member states could set a precedent for regional cooperation and unity, serving as a model for other regional bodies facing similar challenges.



President Bola Tinubu’s re-election as the chairperson of ECOWAS comes at a critical time for West Africa. His call for a regional standby force, increased defense budgets, and strong political will highlight the urgent need for collective action against security threats. By leveraging regional resources and expertise, particularly Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre, ECOWAS can strengthen its defensive capabilities and pave the way for economic and social prosperity.

As the region faces a myriad of challenges, from terrorism to economic instability, Tinubu’s leadership and vision offer a path forward. The responsibility now lies with each member state to rise to the occasion, commit the necessary resources, and work together towards a safer and more prosperous West Africa.

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