40 Years of ECOWAS (1975- 2015)

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Volume: | Pages: 728 | Year Published: 2015

Publisher: National Institute for Legislative Studies

Author: Prof. Ladi Hamalai | Prof. Mike Obadan |

Subject Matter
The Book covers the establishment of ECOWAS, its achievement and challenges from inception to 40 years

This book is written with four key objectives in mind. The first objective is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment and existence of ECOWAS. As the book disclosed, ECOWAS has been in existence since its creation on 28th May, 1975. During the course of this period, it has made giant strides in bringing the ECOWAS countries together. It has also faced some challenges which have to an extent affected its effectiveness in creating a common front and interest for its member states. This leads to the second objective. The second objective according to the authors was to assess the operations, performance, strength and weaknesses of ECOWAS infrastructures made up of its institutions, policies, programmes, and initiatives. These infrastructures have been created at different times with different and specific objectives. However, no literature has taken a scholarly, in-depth and holistic look at these ECOWAS infrastructures to determine how well they are integrated, how successful they have been or the particular challenges they have or are facing. This book is structured in such a way that all the various aspects of ECOWAS infrastructures - operations and performances - are x-rayed by different experts who brought out the various successes, challenges and strengths. The third objective as demonstrated in the structure of the book is to provide a guide and template for policy makers and implementers both at ECOWAS, national, regional and sub regional level on the implementation of ECOWAS policies and programmes and how they affect or could or have benefited individual states. These polices examined included ECOWAS policies on Political integration; Peace and Security Initiatives; Democracy and good governance initiatives; Free movement of persons, Services and Goods; Trade Liberalisation Schemes; and finally Monetary cooperation Programme and Energy and Natural Resources management laws and policies. Finally, the fourth objective is to provide researchers, policy makers, academics, and other stakeholders with unassailable data for further researcher, policy formulation and implementation and for the assessment of the success or otherwise of ECOWAS. In the course of time, study will continue on how to make the objectives of the establishment of ECOWAS more feasible, sustainable and impactful on the life of citizens of the member states. As the authors put it, understanding ECOWAS policies and the challenges and successes of their implementation will assist that they are achieved ad that ECOWAS transmutes from a community of nations to a community of people. To meet the above objectives the books is structured into four parts made up of 19 chapters. To address the objective of each chapter contributions were received from 18 experts in different aspects of ECOWAS operations, performance and institutions.

Gaps Identified
It is very difficult seeking to highlight any gaps in Book so well written as this one. This is because, the contributions of the various authors were quite effective in meeting the four objectives the authors set out for themselves. The paper is filled with verifiable data in support of the analysis of each author ensuring that each chapter is able to proffer solutions to any shortcomings observed in the successful operation and performance of ECOWAS. There are however, two observations which could further enhance the content of the book. These are the use of comparative analysis in assessing and evaluating the various instruments, protocols and institutions of ECOWAS. Such comparism will help put to perspective the success or otherwise of the ECOWAS and particularly the inevitability of challenges it is facing. The second observation, not necessarily limitation but more of further opportunities in understanding ECOWAS is necessity of an assessment or evaluation of ECOWAS institutions, protocols and institutions from a personalized perspective of the author. That is each author making their assessment and analysed based on observed application of ECOWAS operations on the citizens of a particular state. This will hopefully help highlight the peculiar challenges and strengthen of the ECOWAS institution from the perspective of individual states


a. In subsequent editions, authors be required, where relevant to establish comparative criteria for adjudging to success or otherwise of ECOWAS institutions and protocols. b. To commission an individualised research report on the effectiveness or otherwise of ECOWAS and its institution highlighting how members of particular states benefit or do not benefit from ECOWAS. This will help identify some of the obstacles demonstrated by absence of political will by some states.
NILDS to carry out a regular five year appraisal of ECOWAS to determine whether it is making progress. Reports and recommendations of such appraisals should be disseminated to ECOWAS and member states. Customized recommendations could be disseminated to members states found in regular breach of particular ECOWAS protocols, initiatives or programmes.

Reviewer: Dr. Bethel Uzoma Ihugba

Rank: Research Fellow

Department: Legal Research Division

Reviewer: Doris Dakda Aaron

Rank: Research Officer

Department: DLSS/LRD

Date Of Commencement: June 19, 2018

Date Of Completion: June 30, 2018

Chapters One to Five
Prof. Mike Obadan, Prof. M.T. Ladan, Prof. O. Obono and Prof. Mike Obadan, Dr. Kabeer Garba, and Dr. Rasheed Draman, wrote an introduction to the book, establishment of ECOWAS, the role of the ECOWAS Commission; the Parliament, and Enhancing the powers of the parliament respectively. In essence, these chapters dwelt on the establishment of ECOWAS and the functionality of its institutions and organs. In exploring the establishment of the ECWAS, chapter analysed the concept of economic integration, the legal regime established to achieve this purpose under ECOWAS and the phases that member states must recognise for the effective and sustainable achievement of the objectives of ECOWAS. The necessity for member states to give up more sovereignty, the implementation and strict adherence to the rule of law, further empowerment of the ECOWAS parliament to exercise legislative powers, stability in membership of the parliament, better engagement with heads of member states to cede more powers to the parliament will help in strengthening the capacity of ECOWAS to achieve its stated objectives

Chapters Six to Nine
Prof. Mike Obadan, Dr. Kabeer Garba, Prof. Solomon T. Ebobrah, Dr. Jeffry Isima and Dr. Zannou Corneillandre, assessed the operational effectiveness of ECOWAS Parliament; Role of ECOWAS Court in the achieving integration; the ECOWAS Policy on against money laundering in West Africa and the role of the West African Health Organisation respectively. Chapter 6 explores the structure of ECOWAS, vis a vis its capacity to carry out its mandate. It finds that while these structures have assisted in meeting some of the objectives, more needed to be done. This includes the strengthening of ECWAS law making powers, improving sources of funds and capacity building of staff. Chapter 7 takes up the baton and finds that the ECOWAS court, in line with similar international bodies, have the huge potential to improve access to justice in the region. The chapter however argues that the ECCJ spends so much time on human rights cases and quite less on integration cases. The chapter recognises that effective human rights protection is necessary for building a healthy states, however caution that to achieve the primary objectives of ECOWAS, the ECCJ may have to improve in its integration cases and less on fashion. Chapter 8explores another ECOWAS institution, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering otherwise known as GIABA. It finds that GIABA was originally established to tackle money laundering but as terrorism grew and its linkage with money laundering and terrorist financing became more apparent, it has had to expand its scope to include the regulation of terrorist financing. The chapter concludes that although not much improvement in the fight against terrorism is attributable to GIABA, it is reasonable to conclude that its existence has helped stem the escalation of terrorism. This is because it may have been worse were there no legal framework in existence. The next institution which concludes this section is the exploration of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) in chapter 9. It finds that for WAHO to meet its objectives of improving health care for the regions, more needs to be done in the areas of cooperation and collaboration between states; knowledge sharing between member states and the consolidation of the key indexes of regional integration which are: free movement of persons, free movement of services and capital and the right of residence and establishment.

Chapters Ten to Fourteen
Dr. Anthony Luka Elumelu, Dr. Asimiyu Abiola, , Dr. Mobolaji Hakeem, and Dr. Mahmoud Riadds I. Sidi (chapter 13 and 14), conducted assessments of ECOWAS protocols and initiatives. This are the assessment of the protocols on: Free Movement; trade Liberalisation scheme; Monetary Integration; Peace and Security Initiative and Democracy and Good Governance Initiative respectively. On the free movement protocol, chapter 10 finds that though the concept has been accepted in principle, its effective implementation is being obstructed by undue bureaucracy, corruption and lack of political will. It recommend that these challenges be addressed to improve the effective implementation of the protocol. On trade liberalization, it is found that the implementation of the protocol is unsatisfactory. It finds that it is being bogged down by similar obstacles facing the free movement protocol. These include too much bureaucracy, political instability and violence across the region and high cost of transportation across borders. The chapter finds that this is evidenced by very low intra-regional trade between member states. Similar finds are made on the initiative on peace and security. It finds that although ECOWAS originally had mainly ECONOMIC integration objectives, the spate of crisis and violence within member states had made it necessary to introduce the initiative on pace and security. However, the successful implementation of this initiative continues to be challenged by the seeming division amongst members states across lines of language, Francophone and Anglophone, and religious lines, mostly Moslem and Christian, has further escalated strive and makes conflict resolution less effective. The paper concludes that the spirit and content of the legal framework for peace and security remain relevant, however, member states have develop new and proactive strategies for its implementation. This section concludes with an exploration of democracy and good governance initiative in chapter 14. It explores the legal framework established for the promotion of good governance in the region, followed by an analysis of the mechanism for its implementation and finally the challenges and potentials. It finds however, that a successful implementation of the initiatives depends largely of positive and inclusive economic growth throughout the region. Also, leadership of the various member states must uphold democratic principles, rule of law and exemplary political will to sustain the benefits of democracy.

Chapters Fifteen to Nineteen
Prof. Ibibia Lucky Worika, Mallam Idi-Moustapha Abdoulaye, Dr. Essien Abel Essien, Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja and Prof. Ladi Hamalai, conducts evaluation and analysis of laws and policies on energy resources and management in ECOWAS; ECOWAS policy on political integration; the ECOWAS Vision 2020; the prospect of a unified ECOWAS drafting model and finally a conclusion with highlights of some key recommendations respectively. In chapter 15, explains the concepts of energy and natural resources laws and policies for the region. It goes further to demonstrate that the region is blessed with plethora of natural resources and accordingly needs a robust and effective legal regime to effectively manage these resources for the benefit of all citizens. As a follow up, chapter 16 evaluating the political integration policy finds that effective integration requires an appreciation and accommodation of the various cultural, political, economic and social limitations but with optimistic but realist recognition of the benefits. It finds that this could be further enhanced through effective implementation of the key pivots of free movement, trade Liberalisation and free residence and establishment. The chapter acknowledges the gains made so far in this direction by the establishment of the ECCJ and ECOWAS parliament. It however, concludes that better strides could be made by strengthening the political, institutional, structural and normative infrastructures of integration. In chapter 17, an assessment of the potentials of achieving the ECOWAS vision 2020 is used as a benchmark for assessing the success of ECOWAS objectives. The chapter finds that while developing the vision is a significant achievement, its success lies on the ability of the region to improve on effective intra-regional trade, elimination of youth unemployment, industrialization and adoption of a viable and sustainable single currency. Chapter 18, seem to have gone a full circle to explore the role of effective legislative drafting to effective laws. It argues that a uniform drafting practice amongst ECOWAS states will enhance understanding amongst states and improve the attainment of the ECOWAS objectives. It observes that there are two possible options of civil law drafting practice and the common law drafting practice but to ensure the best benefit, either model should aim for a drafting model that enhances uniformity, clarity and understanding. It uses the EU system as a mirror to explore the potentials of a uniform drafting model enhanced by establishment of an ECOWAS drafting unit. Chapter 19 concludes the book with an overview of the different analysis and evaluation of ECOWAS and its key instruments. It also provides highlights of key recommendations on the successful implementation of ECOWAS protocols and institutions like the vision 2020, Parliament, ECCJ, WAHO, Trade Liberalization, free movement of persons, services and goods; Monetary cooperation, democracy, good governance, peace and security; energy and natural resource management and finally on the establishment of ECOWAS legislative drafting Office.