Your Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Honorable Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Rt. Honorable Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Honorable Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Rt. Honorable Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana Honorable Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ghana and Chairperson of ECOWAS Council of Ministers Excellency Dr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, President of ECOWAS Commission Honorable Members of the ECOWAS Parliament Honorable Jean Mensah, Chairperson, Electoral Commission, Republic of Ghana Honorable Neenyi Ghartey VII (The Seventh), Paramount Chief of the Effutu Traditional Area and other Traditional Leaders Members of the Diplomatic Corps Honorable Secretary General, Directors and Staff of the ECOWAS Parliament Other Dignitaries The Press, Ladies and Gentlemen On behalf of the Rt. Honorable Speaker and Members of the Ghanaian Parliament, I welcome you to the opening ceremony of ECOWAS Parliament’s High-Level Seminar which is being held under the theme, “Two decades of democratic elections in ECOWAS Member States: achievements, challenges and the way forward” and to the industrious town of Winneba.
I particularly appreciate the support of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Current Chair of the Authority of Heads of State.
Your Excellency, I want to thank you for being present, and a warm welcome you and officials of the Ghanian Government to the first ECOWAS Parliament High-Level Seminar being held outside a West African Capital City.
I am also happy to welcome the Honorable Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Honorable Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, His darling wife, who is also the Minister of Western Region of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Honorable Mrs. Nabelaa Tunis, Honorable Members of the ECOWAS Parliament and Staff, as well as Invited Guests to the Town of Winneba, Effutu Traditional Area.
I guess you all have already felt the warmth of this great town and experience the richness of its hospitality, and I have no doubt that we have made all the necessary preparations to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Your Excellency, Honorable Members of Parliament, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and GentlemenThough protocol has dictated that I welcome you all to this ceremony, I however crave your indulgence to place a brief emphasis how important this seminar is to the growth of democracy not only in the West African region, but Africa as a whole.
You may recall that over the past two decades, we have placed high value on entrenching democracy across ECOWAS Member States, and working together, we have scored significant successes.
There is no gainsaying of the scars we bare from the brutal past of civil wars and dictatorial regimes that caused massive poverty, loss of human lives and economic stagnation.
However, it is predominantly evident the African Region has recovered significantly from the menaces of the past and our states are more secure, democratic, prosperous, and progressive.
Increasingly, regular elections are being held, our education and health care systems has improved, and digital technology, especially in Ghana has thrive.
I have outlined the above to draw your attention to the fact that all these would not have been possible in the absence of regular democratic elections, civil order and cohesion in our drive as a community of States and with our partners around the world. Notwithstanding the gains we have made, there still exist challenges we all must tackle.
Recent developments in the Republics of Mali and Guinea provide more reasons for a more consolidated effort to protect the strides we have made. That is why the ECOWAS Parliament deemed it fit to hold this seminar for the purpose of taking stock of or democratic legacy as a region and propose recommendations on how we can protect it further.
It therefore gives me pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of this very important seminar `which signifies the importance we have attached to democracy and good governance in our region.
I wish you a pleasant stay in Winneba and I thank you all for your kind attention. Welcome!Akwaba!