It was a rude shock to many citizens of ECOWAS member States when Morocco, an Arab state located in the North of Africa, filled an application to become a full member of ECOWAS. The expression of interest to join the regional group is described by international affairs analysts as suspicious .The Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS is comprised of 15 countries located in the Western Sahara of Africa. The countries have alike historical background and culture as well as, share boundaries. Morocco in all essence has no regional connection with the organisation.
The Rational Behind It
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco says the decision is informed by the need to ” crown the strong political, human, historical, religious and economic ties existing between Morocco and ECOWAS member states at all levels.
In Nigeria, unbridled critics have ensued. The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors made a clarion call on the Nigerian government and the leadership of ECOWAS to resist any attempt of Morocco joining the regional body. The association puts pressure directly on Nigerian government not to accommodate morocco in the organisation saying it will whittle down the strength of Nigeria as a higher authority in the organisation. Morocco will only attempt to frustrate efforts of West African states especially of Nigeria in the support of the independence of Western Sahara- a disputed region hitherto under the control of Morocco, says Ignatius Olisemeka, chairman of the association and former minister of foreign affairs.
International relations analysts are of the opinion that the diplomatic solicitation by Morocco is moved by self interest. Morocco, so to speak, is aiming to position itself as a continental power sitting at the top of the political table in Africa.
It should be noted that if Morocco is admitted, her opportunities and benefits in the international community will also increase. Morocco will benefit from the Arab League quota as well as West African quota. Also, she will have more chances in the distribution of elective and appointive posts in international organizations.
Morocco which recently quit her isolation policy to rejoin the African Union after 33 years, has a history of aggression and egoism in her international relations. Analyst are therefore giving a forewarning to West African leaders.
Matter arising is the issue of continuity of the name ECOWAS. International analysts says membership of Morocco will mark the end of ECOWAS, as a new name will be birthed to accommodate countries beyond the borders of West Africa.
Article by: Diplomatic front Africa