Morocco will know the fate of its Economic Community of West Africa States (Ecowas) membership bid in December, official said.
Nigeria’s Foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama said on Monday that there were currently arguments against and for the admission of Morocco.
“A definitive decision would be taken at the end of the year,’’ Mr Onyeama said.
The North African country in February announced the desire to join the 15-member West African bloc.
“The Kingdom of Morocco has informed President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current chair of Ecowas, of its interest to join the regional group as a full member,” the Foreign ministry had said.
Mr Onyeama said there were some countries that felt Morocco should not join Ecowas.
“So, ultimately the Ecowas heads of state will take a decision on that,” he said.
Ecowas heads of state will meet in December to determine the Morocco application, which analysts suspect has ulterior motives.
Said Mr Onyeama: “I think in principle, there is nothing against Morocco joining Ecowas but it is just whether it would add value, whether it would be a win for the Ecowas region or not.
“So the heads of state will take a final decision later in the year at the next summit,” Mr Onyeama said.
According to Morocco, the decision was informed by the need “to crown the strong political, human, historical, religious and economic ties at all levels with Ecowas member countries”.
Morocco maintains institutional relations with Ecowas through an observer status, which has been in place for several years.
However, there has been pressure by various groups, particularly, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria, asking Nigeria and Ecowas to resist any attempt by Morocco to join the sub-regional body.
They argued that Morocco was coming to whittle down the power of Nigeria, not only at Ecowas and the African Union, but also at the United Nations.
A diplomatic analyst, Mr Alex Abdullahi, sees Morocco as a troublesome country which was seeking dominance at all costs.
He referred to the country’s withdrawal from the Africa Union (AU) which it re-joined in 2016 after decades.
“I suspect Morocco is turning to a bloc outside its region to wield its power and garner support against the Maghreb bloc.’’