Wide Angle

Opposing Morocco’s membership to ECOWAS, Nigerian retired Ambassadors stick to their guns

Once again, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria has expressed its strong opposition to Morocco’s ECOWAS membership. The next Nigerian presidential elections are to take place in February 2019 and Rabat will have to settle the matter before this deadline.

Members of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria./Ph. DR
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In Nigeria, the circles opposed to Morocco’s application to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have not changed their mind. A meeting to discuss the Kingdom’s bid was held Tuesday at the headquarters of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Attended by the Nigerian vice president Yemi Osinbajo, Oladapo Fafowora, head of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) warned the Federal government during the meeting against the consequences of the Kingdom’s ECOWAS membership.

«One major foreign policy problem now confronting the Buhari administration is the complication caused by Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS», he said.

«All major stakeholders in our foreign relations including (ARCAN), have conveyed to Buhari’s administration their strong and determined opposition to the move».

Nigerian presidential elections

To defend his rejection, the former ambassador made sure to bring new arguments as opposed to Zango Abdu, a retired Nigerian diplomat who shed light on the dangers of Morocco’s membership to ECOWAS. In August 2017, Zango said that «one of the issues that came up is to say that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is gaining stronger ground in Morocco».

He warned that if Nigeria failed to take higher interest in this issue of Morocco joining ECOWAS, it was most likely that the youths joining ISIS in Morocco or Libya would find their ways into the country.

On the other hand, Oladapo Fafowora gave his opposition an economic tone, emphasizing the fact that the Kingdom would benefit from its membership to shower the ECOWAS market with products coming from the European Union particularly France.

Nevertheless, the former diplomat acknowledged the limited room for maneuvering circles opposed to the Moroccan bid : «But it appears there are some powerful voices in the presidency, not the Foreign Ministry, who, for personal reasons want Morocco in.»

Nigeria will have new presidential elections on February the 16th, 2019. Muhammadu Buhari has not revealed yet his intention to participate to the upcoming elections, knowing that his party, All Progressive Congress (APC), has already nominated its representatives.

The presidential race, however, might bring together Buhari and Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Algerian president. Morocco is expected to conclude its membership bid to ECOWAS before teh presidential deadline.

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