Jonathan says 'goodbye' to ECOWAS

President Jonathan, second right, with his ECOWAS colleagues in Accra today

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria has said a farewell to his fellow West African leaders as he spoke at the 47th ordinary session of the region’s economic grouping, ECOWAS.

After a review of ECOWAS progress in the last few years, especially in forging peace and democratic culture, and after congratulating Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe, who won a disputed re-election, Jonathan reserved his parting words to the last three paragraphs of his speech:

“Your Excellencies, as you are no doubt aware, this is the last Summit that I will be attending as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 10 days time, precisely on the 29th of this month, my successor, President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, will assume the mantle of leadership of my country. I feel deeply satisfied that the tree of democracy planted in my country and in our sub-region, has taken roots and is blossoming. I have, no doubt whatsoever, that under the watchful guidance and nurturing of Your Excellencies, that tree will continue to bear abundant fruits.

” Let me, therefore, seize the opportunity to express my profound appreciation for the understanding and cooperation that you accorded me all these years, especially during my tenure as the Chairman of our Organisation between 2010-2012. The personal rapport and chemistry that I have enjoyed with each one of you, my brother and sister Presidents greatly facilitated the decisions that we were able to take and the concrete measures we took on behalf of our sub-region. As the new Administration takes over, I am confident that the bonds of friendship between Nigeria and each member state of our cherished Organisation and Nigeria’s role within ECOWAS, will grow even stronger. I urge you all to extend the same friendship and fraternal cooperation that I have received from you to my successor.

” Once again, Your Excellencies, I thank you for your friendship and the unalloyed support. I wish you well as you steer the affairs of our sub-region. The future of our Organisation and West Africa is in good, safe and capable hands. I shall, even out of office, continue to give my modest support to our noble cause of unity, peace, stability and development of our sub-region.”