Former diplomat, Amb. Dahiru Suleiman has said that Nigeria will resist the move by Morocco to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Amb. Suleiman who said this at the Abuja Policy Dialogue on Morocco Ascension into ECOWAS added that the sub regional body was taking the “wrong step” by considering Morocco’s application.
Rather than allow Morocco to join ECOWAS, the former diplomat argued that they should be allowed to continue their bilateral relationship with member countries in the sub region.
Morocco has had an observer status in ECOWAS and only recently applied to become the 16 member of the regional economic bloc.
But Amb. Suleiman believes that if allowed into the regional bloc, Morocco will be a divisive influence. According to him, “if Morocco can be a divisive inflence in the Arab Meghreb Union (AMU), what stops it from doing the same in ECOWAS.
For his part, Secretary General of AFrican Trade Union, comrade Owei Lakemfa insisted that the move by Morocco to join ECOWAS is political saying “it is a diversion from the broader issue of the Saharawi people.”
According to him, the move will compromise the spirit that led to the establishment of the commission.
“Morocco will undermine ECOWAS just as it continues to undermine the African Union (AU),” he stressed.
Comrade Lakemfa wondered how a country that operates a monarchy was going to blend with those that operate a democracy.
This even as he added that the Arab country continues to defy AU with its continued occupation of Western Sahara. “There is need to sanction Morocco rather than accept it into the ECOWAS fold.”
Earlier, in her keynote address, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD West Africa), Idayat Hassan wondered why a country in the North of Africa will want to join a West Africam economic bloc.
From a geographical point of view, according to her, Morocco does not share a border with any of the 15 state parties who have ratified the ECOWAS treaty, she queried.
“Why will Morocco in the Maghreb want to join the 15-member West Africa States of ECOWAS? What exactly do the region have in common either in terms of economic, religious, and cultural affinity with West Africa? And, what has een the relationship with ECOWAS, it State parties and Morocco?,” she asked.
Citing Article 2.2 of the revised 1993 ECOWAS Treaty, to buttress her point, the CDD director posited that Morocco lacked the criteria to join ECOWAS.
While noting the failing of Nigeria’s to assert it’s powers in the regional bloc, Ms. Hassan stressed that the move to admit Morocco as is being canvassed by some ECOWAS member States notably Senegal and Cote d’ Ivoire is regrettable saying it is an indication that “Year in year out, Nigeria has given financial, diplomatic and political support to the regional bloc. 42 years of investment shouldn’t be repaid in such a manner.”