The #ECOWAS@40Podcast is a segment of the erstwhile “Africa in the News” segment in the weekly Tuesday Africa magazine show on Radio XYZ93.1FM. Divided into four parts, we start off with an overview of what stories are trending under ECOWAS. We then move on to what ECOWAS and/or AU accounts are tweeting. Third, we give listeners an ECOWAS and AU Fact; and, finally, “What’s my ECOWAS Beef?” where I offer candid views on a trending topic.
Welcome to another edition of the Ecowas@40Podcast, where we give you insights into all that is ECOWAS.
In the 10 February edition, ECOWAS resumed pride of place over the African Union, what with the postponement of Nigerian elections to March 28; meetings over donor conference for Guinea Bissau; and President Mahama’s visit to Niger Monday to meet his counterpart President Issoufou, where they reviewed the activities of the task force on the ECOWAS Monetary Programme.
First, it was over the weekend before Valentine and Chocolate day that both Nigerian and international sources started hinting of a postponement of the 14 February Nigeria elections. On twitter, there was a long-established hashtag under #NigeriaDecides. Typically, none of the ECOWAS accounts tweeted anything at all during this auspicious time when the #NigeriaDecides was trending.
As usual, what was perhaps most interesting about these tweets was the fact that all of them were coming from non-ECOWAS accounts. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. One @MrAyeDee (profile: Africa & Middle East Public Policy and Security Expert. Editor-In-Chief) with 39 RTS on the tweet: “It is shameful that the United States has chosen to blatantly involve itself in Nigeria's partisan politics, #NigeriaDecides #Obama”
2. @FemiOke (Al Jazeera journalist, moderator and @Upworthycontributing curator, tweeting about the world with a British accent.) tweeted: “Nigeria have you seen the #MuhammaduBuhari interview @AJEnglish yet? Check it out here). That attracted 18 RTs
3. @Omojuwa (Columnist for national dailies@MobilePunch & @LeadershipNGA + @MetropoleMag| International Public Speaker | African Ambassador with 18K followers) tweeted: “Before 7th February, we were preparing to have elections. Now, we are preparing to save Democracy in Nigeria”. Number of RTs? 81!
Still on AU-related matters, Mugabe was trending under the #MugabeFalls.
We know now 27 guards have been suspended, but what is perhaps even more interesting were the tweets that trailed along the mini-drama of a 90-yr-old AU Chairman tripping and falling:
1. 1. @Smith_RFKennedy tweeted: “Per @thestandardzim, #MugabeFalls has cost folks their jobs. Further evidence that dictators have no sense of humor” – 57 RTs
2. 2. @TheSunNewspaper, UK tweeted: “Robert Mugabe fell over and the internet came up with these hilarious gems. sunpl.us/6013LP2b #MugabeFalls” – 47 RTs
Closely trailing behind was still the headache of #BokoHaram:
1. 1. @ClancyReports (Jim Clancy) tweets: From Dept. of Skepticism: Security adviser says#Nigeria to 'take out' all #BokoHaram camps by March 28 @AJEnglish aje.io/cbmc. 23 RTs
2. @ReutersAfrica tweeted: #BokoHaram launches twin attacks in #Niger and #Cameroon af.reuters.com/article/topNew…11 RTs
3. @FRANCE24 tweets “Fight against #BokoHaram turns into “regional war” with 21RTs. (bit of an exaggeration…how about assumes regional dimensions?)
4. @BBCAfrica tweeted “Niger has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and banned the use of motorcycle in Diffa state following attacks by #BokoHaram militants” (hr ago: 17 RTS)
1. @MobilePunch: “Respect INEC’s decision, ECOWAS urges Nigerians” – 14RTS
2. @AU_PSD: “l’UA en contact avec la CEDEAO et les Nations Unies sur la situation au Burkina Faso” – 6 RTS…5 days ago. Why no tweet on this in English?
3. @KORABroadcasting (koraafricanews.com): “#ECOWAS Chair…@JDMahama Pushes Single Currency Agenda” – 21 RTs
Did you know that:
1. ECOWAS has a Monetary Cooperation Programme that seeks to take ECOWAS down the line of a common currency that would merge the UEMOA countries using CFA with the five Anglophone countries of ECOWAS using the ECO by 2020, for which reason ECOWAS Chair Mahama and Niger President met Monday in Niger to discuss Third Meeting of the Presidential Task Force on EMCP
2. President of the ECOWAS Community Court Justice Silva Monteiro, based in Abuja, is calling for the establishment of an ECOWAS Human Rights Charter for Citizens. The Charter is supposed to contain a catalogue of rights for the region’s 300 million citizens. You can visit their website at www.courtecowas.org for more details.
What’s my ECOWAS Beef?
Apart from the very important fact that ECOWAS needs to get very serious on social media is the fact that there is not enough discussion in Africa’s media around the ECOWAS common currency. Merging the francophone and Anglophone countries’ currency together will be no mean feat, and it certainly cannot only rest on the shoulders of Ghana and Niger to push through a common currency. It must rest on ALL aspects of the media that must go beyond reporting ad-hoc meetings about the ECMP. And I also like to believe that a lot of the onus MUST rest on ECOWAS Communicating and informing the sub-region across francophone and Anglophone media!
Emmanuel, an ECOWAS Policy Analyst, is Host & Executive Producer of “Africa in Focus” Show on Radio XYZ93.1FM. It is airborne every Tuesday from 13h00 to 15h00. You can download podcasts of all 30 editions on www.africainfocusradioshow.org. Download the #ECOWAS@40Podcasts from soundcloud.com