Mohammed K. Ibrahim/This Day online
The virtual absence of Nigeria from the 51st Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which took place in Monrovia on June 4, 2017 under the chairmanship of H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, left behind a trail of surprise, disappointment and even anger in the minds of many Nigerians. It also left heavy question marks on the future of ECOWAS, because of the receptive consideration given to the Morocco’s request for membership of the Community by the Heads of State in Monrovia.
ECOWAS has since its establishment been central to Nigeria’s foreign policy, because of the importance of the sub-region in Africa and the world. The Treaty establishing the Community was signed in Lagos on 28 May 1975, after several years of determined efforts by General Yakubu Gowon, who was then the Head of State of the Military Government of Nigeria and his Togolese counterpart, General Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo.
Since then ECOWAS has gone through thick and thin, and today it is the most active Regional Economic Community (REC) in Africa. If any country should take credit for this achievement, it is no doubt, Nigeria. It gave ECOWAS the financial, diplomatic, military and political support it needed to face the numerous challenges it encountered in last 42 years, especially during the conflict in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where it was estimated that Nigeria spent over US$7 billion.
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Source: This Day