Buhari becomes first Nigerian President to serve more than once as ECOWAS Chairman

By: Yusuf Akinpelu
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, was on Tuesday elected the new chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), becoming the first Nigerian president to chair the Community more than once.
Mr Buhari had served in the capacity first as a military head of state in 1985, after which he was succeeded by General Ibrahim Babangida to whom he surrendered power to through a coup d’etat in the same year.
Togolese Gnassingbé Eyadéma, thrice, Burkinabe Blaise Compaoré and Gambian Dawda Jawara, both twice, are the other President who have served more than once.
The Authority of the Heads of State of Government is the supreme organ of the Community. Its duty is to give guidance the President of ECOWAS. The Marcel Alain de Souza of Benin Republic is the immediate past president of the Community. He left in March 2018.
Below is the chronological list of past Chairmen of the Community:
• Gnassingbé Eyadéma (Togo) 1977–1978
• Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria) 1978–1979
• Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal) 1979–1980
• Gnassingbé Eyadéma (Togo) 1980–1981
• Siaka Stevens (Sierra Leone) 1981–1982
• Mathieu Kérékou (Benin) 1982–1983
• Ahmed Sékou Touré (Guinea) 1983–1984
• Lansana Conté (Guinea) 1984–1985
• Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria) 1985 – 27 August 1985
• Ibrahim Babangida (Nigeria) 27 August 1985 – 1989
• Dawda Jawara (the Gambia) 1989–1990
• Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso) 1990–1991
• Dawda Jawara (the Gambia) 1991–1992
• Abdou Diouf (Senegal) 1992–1993
• Nicéphore Soglo (Benin) 1993–1994
• Jerry John Rawlings (Ghana) 1994 – 27 July 1996
• Sani Abacha (Nigeria) 27 July 1996 – 8 June 1998
• Abdulsalami Abubakar (Nigeria) 9 June 1998 – 1999
• Gnassingbé Eyadéma (Togo) 1999
• Alpha Oumar Konaré (Mali) 1999 – 21 December 2001
• Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal) 21 December 2001 – 31 January 2003
• John Agyekum Kufuor (Ghana) 31 January 2003 – 19 January 2005
• Mamadou Tandja (Niger) 19 January 2005 – 19 January 2007
• Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso) 19 January 2007 – 19 December 2008
• Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (Nigeria) 19 December 2008 – 18 February 2010
• Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria) 18 February 2010 – 17 February 2012
• Alassane Ouattara (Côte d’Ivoire) 17 February 2012 – 28 March 2014
• John Dramani Mahama (Ghana) 28 March 2014 –19 May 2015
• Macky Sall – 19 Mai 2015 –June 2016
• Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) – June 2016 – June 2017
• Faure Gnassingbe (Togo) – June 2017 – July 2018
Currently, ECOWAS has 15 member states with subregional blocs: The West African Economic and Monetary Union, also known by its French-language acronym UEMOA and  is an organization of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within the ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union and the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
The former consists of eight countries while the latter comprises six English-speaking countries.
Buhari will preside his first meeting as the new Chairman in Abuja on December 21, 2018.
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