By Linus Aleke, Abuja
Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have criticised what they described as the poor leadership style of the incumbent Speaker of the Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis.
Tunis, who is the Head of the Sierra Leonean Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, has been largely absent since the commencement of the 2023 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja.
This is not the first time he is abandoning the sub-regional legislative business for personal engagement and national politics, according to sources.
A vocal Member of Parliament from Senegal, Abdoulaye Vilane, said Tunis will go down in history as the worst Speaker in the annals of the Parliament.
Vilane, who spoke to ThisNigeria exclusively yesterday, during Committee Meeting in Abuja, also alleged that the Speaker uses his position to give undue advantage to Sierra Leoneans through irregular recruitment in the Parliament, thereby short-charging other nationals.
He said that the Speaker presided over the opening of the session and abdicated his responsibility and went back to his country for a mere birthday party of Mr Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone.
He further alleged that the Speaker’s nonchalant attitude towards assigned duties is fuelling corruption and ineptitude at the Parliament, insisting that he uses appointments to silence dissenting voices against his recklessness at the Parliament.
Another outspoken Member of Parliament from Nigeria, Awaji-inombek Abiante also, criticize the Speaker’s penchant for renting and begging for a venue to hold the session in Abuja, because of his unwillingness to fix the malfunctioning Air Conditioners at the hallow chambers of the ECOWAS Parliament.
Members of Parliament had protested against using the chambers unless the malfunctioning air conditioning units at the chamber are put in order.
Abiante who expressed this concern during plenary, said that they may lose their moral authority as Parliament to perform oversight on ECOWAS Commission if the Commission continues to offer the Parliament its hall to hold sessions.
He said it was better to hold sitting under a tree than to continue to present itself as a beggarly institution before the commission.
Abiante said, “I know some people will not enjoy this part of my speech, as wonderful as the cordial relationship between the commission and parliament is, I don’t think it should be encouraged to the point where we would renege on our direct responsibilities. It is not expected that the Parliament should leave its house and go and sit in their neighbour’s house.
“If ordinary Air Conditioning cannot be maintained, it should be a sign of … We cannot hold other organs accountable, while we are not accountable to ourselves. The relationship is good, but next time, President of the Commission, if the Parliament comes to you seeking to use this venue, please reject it, so that we can sit under the mango tree and then put our house in order.”
Another Member of Parliament Liberian, Stephen Zargo, said the Speaker should be blamed for the lack of interest shown in the parliamentary business, by MPs.
In an interview with ThisNigeria in Abuja, the Liberian MP said, ECOWAS Parliament was more vibrant under the former Speaker, Moustapha Cisse Lo, than now.