14 June 2017

West Africa: Why Nigeria Must Resist Morocco's Move to Join Ecowas - ARCAN

Abuja — The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) yesterday called on the Nigerian government to resist any attempt by other member countries of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to admit Morocco into the regional body.

Noting that Morocco, by reason of its geographical location, does not qualify to be admitted into the regional organization, the association, through its founding chairman and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ignatius C. Olisemeka, however warned that Morocco's motive was political and aimed at whittling down the strength of Nigeria for her role in the admission of Western Sahara into the then Organization of African Unity (OAU).

The association however wondered why the Federal Government has so far, not engaged in a vigorous campaign against Morocco's move, stressing that the government owes Nigerians an explanation.

According to ARCAN, the admission of Morocco in principle, if true, would have been one of the most humiliating and lowest points in Nigeria's foreign policy since independence.

"We say so because ECOWAS as a sub-regional economic association of only West African states was the brainchild of Nigeria under the government of General Yakubu Gowon and the government of Togo under President Gnassingbe Eyadema

"Morocco is coming to whittle down the power of Nigeria, not only in ECOWAS, African Union but also in the United Nations. Morocco has a political agenda and that agenda is that Nigeria spearheaded the admission of Western Sahara into the Organization of African Unity (OAU) then."

"Morocco took offense and left the OAU. So, right from the word go, it will look as if Morocco does not care about the feelings of other people. It is only its own interest and nothing else.

"If Morocco comes into ECOWAS, it is not only going to destabilize the organization, it will work very hard to get them not to continue with their support for the Western Sahara", ARCAN stated.

The association however expressed fear that Anglophone West African countries would be easily swayed by whatever argument Morocco will make since they are less than the Francophone countries.

With Nigeria paying over 60 per cent of ECOWAS annual budget, ARCAN flayed Nigerian government for watching at a move to ruin its investment in the Commission.The association further argued that admitting Morocco into the regional body would mark the end of ECOWAS, as a new name would be introduced to accommodate countries beyond the border of West Africa.

Rather than seek to destabilize ECOWAS, ARCAN has called on Morocco to go back to the regional organization it originally belonged and reconcile its difference with its brother nations.

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