The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has advocated full integration in Africa using the legislative instrument to have a common passport, market, and a single customs and monetary union.
Gbajabiamila made this call on Thursday, November 12, at the opening of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region 51st Conference in Abuja.
The Speaker said there was the need to “agree to use the instruments of trade and common markets to set us irreversibly on the path to a future of honourable peace, abiding prosperity and brotherhood amongst the nations of Africa.”
In his welcome address, Gbajabiamila noted that the CPA Africa Region had and would continue to play an essential role in advancing democracy in Africa, noting that it provided an opportunity for parliamentarians across Africa to engage with and learn from each other about the challenges they shared and the strategies for overcoming them.
He said: “…let us commit ourselves to use the tools of parliamentary diplomacy and authority; to enable the achievement of a common Passport, a common market and a single customs and monetary union that will make full African integration possible. Let us agree to use the instruments of trade and common markets; to set us irreversibly on the path to a future; of honourable peace, abiding prosperity, and brotherhood amongst the nations of Africa.”
The Speaker lamented a situation where Africa witnessed a reversal of the democratic gains; made over the past two decades in Sudan, Mali, Guinea, Niger, and Chad, amongst others.
“It is, therefore, apt that we have chosen; to make addressing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic the theme of our Conference this year. This will allow us to critically examine the present conditions across Africa; consider options for building political and economic resilience; using the tools and powers of parliament; and affirm our shared commitment to the goal of a democratic, free and prosperous continent,” he said.
Through annual conferences, seminars, workshops, parliamentary visits, and exchanges; Gbajabiamila said, the association had helped build and expand parliamentary expertise; and capacity for legislators and legislative staff across the continent both at the national and sub-national levels.