Senegalese President Macky Sall has been elected as the new Chair of the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] Authority Heads of State and Government, for a renewable one year term.
The election was one top of the agenda as the leaders met at the 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Accra.
The Senegalese leader beat competition from Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was highly tipped to replace Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama, whose tenure ended on Tuesday May 19, 2015.
President Sall in accepting the baton to continue the leadership race, expressed his gratitude to member states for his election to the highest office of the regional body.
In his acceptance speech, the Senegalese president paid tribute to former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan for the role he played in the peaceful election conducted in Nigeria.
He said Jonathan’s conduct was exemplary. President John Mahama had also praised the statesmanship of Goodluck Jonathan which he said resulted in peaceful election in Africa’s economic powerhouse. He said the name of Jonathan will forever be etched on the country’s political history.
President Mahama led the group for a year and half. The Ghanaian President served for one term but had his tenure extended for a few months at the 46th Ordinary Session held in December 2014.
President Mahama was hailed by his colleagues for his exemplary leadership after supervising two major elections in Togo and Nigeria, coupled with the challenges brought by the deadly Ebola virus.
Amongst his efforts, he facilitated and allowed the establishment of a UN Ebola center in Ghana that was responsible for conveying Ebola medicine, logistics as well as personnel to the affected countries.
President Mahama may want to concentrate more on critical issues back home as election approaches in 2016.
Fifty-Four year old Macky Sall has been President of Senegal since April 2012. Under President Abdoulaye Wade, Sall was Prime Minister of Senegal from April 2004 to June 2007 and President of the National Assembly of Senegal from June 2007 to November 2008. He was the Mayor of Fatick from 2002 to 2008 and held that post again from 2009 to 2012.
Sall was a long-time member of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS). After coming into conflict with Wade, he was removed from his post as President of the National Assembly in November 2008; he consequently founded his own party and joined the opposition.
Placing second in the first round of a keenly contested presidential election in 2012, he won the backing of other opposition candidates and prevailed over Wade in the second round of voting, held on 25 March 2012.
Sall, is a geological engineer by profession.
Tuesday’s meeting among other discussions, also deliberated on the postponement of the 40th anniversary of the sub-regional bloc.
A communiqué to be issued after the one-day meeting will also limit the terms of leaders to a mandatory two-term tenure given the circumstances that led to the ousting of Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore.