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24 Feb 2018

ECOWAS membership: Morocco’s application, not Nigeria’s interest – Diplomat

ALSO READ : Catholics return to CAN after five years absenceThe Federal Government was on Tuesday advised not to support Morocco’s bid to join ECOWAS as its proposed membership is not in Nigeria’s interest. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI Amb. Oladapo Fafowora, National President, Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), said this in a key lecture delivered at the first Annual Foreign Service Public Lecture in Abuja. The lecture was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the emerging issues on Nigerian foreign policy. He said that Morocco was seeking entry into an enlarged market in ECOWAS for its industrial exports most of which will come from the EU, particularly France. A former Deputy Permanent Representative in New York, Fafowora described Morocco’s application as one major foreign policy confronting President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. “One major foreign policy problem now confronting the Buhari administration is the complication caused by Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS. “There is strong opposition in the country to Morocco’s application as it lacks merit. “All major stakeholders in our foreign relations including ARCAN, have conveyed to Buhari’s administration their strong and determined opposition to the move. “But it appears there are some powerful voices in the presidency, not the Foreign Ministry, who, for personal reasons want Morocco in,’’ said the diplomat. According to him, this is clear indication of divided control of our foreign policy. The foreign ministry is presumed to have primary responsibility for advising the government on our foreign policy. “But as is well known by now, this is not always the case. There are other key players in the system that has the capacity to decisively influence our foreign policy. “In a presidential system of government such as ours the presidency becomes the major source of advice on our foreign policy. “We have seen this trend in the case of Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS and the government’s foot dragging on the matter. This is not in our national interest. “We in ARCAN will continue to oppose the application of Morocco for full membership of the organisation as it lacks any merit,” he said. According to him, Morocco’s application is not in Nigeria’s political or economic interest. He noted that Morocco, if admitted, would force the agenda of the EU into the throat of the organisation which he said was detriment to the economic growth of the region. “Morocco is seeking entry into an enlarged market in ECOWAS for its industrial exports most of which will come from the EU, particularly France,” he said. (NAN)

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