ECOWAS MEETING DEADLOCKED ON NEXT PRESIDENT
The meeting of the Heads of States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after several hours on Tuesday failed to resolve the issue of who will become the next President of ECOWAS Commission
The Heads of States could not agree on who should heads the ECOWAS Commission between Benin Republic and Burkina Faso, two countries short listed for the job.
The summit, presided over by ECOWAS Chairman, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, considered the report of an ad hoc committee led by the Sierra Leone's President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, on the rotation of positions in the commission.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the commission's President, Ambassador James Victor Gheho of Ghana , said that the heads of states agreed on all the recommendations of the committee except on the position of the president.
The Heads of States had following their inability to resolve the problem at an earlier meeting, set up an adhoc committee of the Heads of State under the chairmanship of the President of Sierra Leone to look into ways of resolving the logjam.
Yesterday's meeting was conveyed to consider the report of the committee which narrowed the selection to two countries.
'The meeting received the reports of the adhoc committee and deliberated on them based on the principles enunciated in that report in determining positions in the commission on equitable transparent and predictable basis.
'In that respect we accepted all the principles as well as the recommendations. We agreed on all except the position of the President of the ECOWAS Commission because there was no censuses as to whether to give it to Benin Republic or Burkina Faso.
He said that the decision on the position was deferred because the president of Burkina Faso was not at the summit and President Jonathan wanted to satisfy himself that he has consulted properly before a decision is reached.
To break the deadlock, Gbeho said Jonathan is expected to hold talks with the two presidents.
'So the Chairman of ECOWAS will hold talks with the President of both countries with a view to breaking the logjam that has occurred. Unfortunately the President of Burkina Faso could not attend yesterday's meeting'.
He however disclosed that the post of the Vice President of the Commission has been given to Liberia.
Gbeho added that the heads of states are currently working on the possibility of splitting some of the departments in the commission in order to accommodate some states that are already complaining of marginalisation in the appointment of commissioners.
He said that the decision was reached based on the fact that some of the departments as currently constituted are overloaded with responsibilities.
Other positions announced include, Commissioner in charge of Micro Economic Policies went to Mali, while that of Political Affairs, Peace and Security went to Nigeria
Other are; Agriculture, Environment and Water Resource- Togo, Administration and Finance, Sierra Leon, Customs, Trade, Free Movement and Industry-Niger, Infrastructure-The Gambia just as Human Development and Gender was given to Senegal.
Gbeho said that each country is expected to send names of three nominees for each post to the secretariat.
Such nominees, he added, would undergo interviews from where one of them would be selected for the posts.
He said the commission has about two months to indicate who have been selected.
He announced that the positions will be held for the next four years.