Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari has been elected as the new Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Buhari was announced as the chairman on Tuesday at the ECOWAS Summit in Lome, Togo, after a closed session of Heads of State of the Commission.
He took over from Faure Gnassingbé, president of Togo who held the role in the past year.
Buhari has been at the Summit since Sunday where West African leaders deliberated issues around security, peace and good governance in countries in West Africa and members of the Economic Community of Central African States.
Buhari’s election means Nigeria will preside over all other ECOWAS statutory meetings during his tenure, according to ECOWAS Governance structure.
The next ECOWAS meeting is scheduled to take place in Abuja on December 21, 2018.
In his acceptance speech, Buhari pledged to take ECOWAS to greater heights and bring peace to the West African region.
“I am truly humbled and pledge to serve and work with all of you to deliver on peace, security, good governance and socio-economic development,” the Nigerian leader said.
According to the ECOWAS Governance structure, Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who is the Minister in charge of ECOWAS affairs in Nigeria automatically becomes the Chairman of Council of Ministers.
The announcement of Buhari as ECOWAS leader comes hours after Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that he has left the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) for the opposition People’s Democratic Party.
Buhari had earlier stated during a meeting with the Nigerian community in Togo that he was not bothered by the defections of members of his party to the PDP.
“I am not bothered about the defections,” he said.
“Ordinary Nigerians have developed confidence in us and are defending us. I assure you, the majority of Nigerians back home are appreciative of our efforts.”