Monday, June 23, 2008

A sea of S-Classes

I had to go the Hilton today to pay my MTN bill. There was an ECOWAS shindig on so the entrance was blocked. It seemed like there were hundreds of Mercs with little flags at the front - shiny new S and E classes. It didn't look like a gathering of some of the poorest countries on the planet. Then there was all the pomp and ceremony - red carpets, military and police all over the gaff. It felt like being on the precipice of a wormhole in time - a close replica of all the strutting feathery pomposity of colonial times in Africa. Its funny how the inertia against historical change is articulated through fabric and ritual.


Anonymous,  7:52 pm  

why do you expect the leaders of poor to be likewise poor?

Mr C 10:08 pm  

The only thing that comes to my mind is George Orwell's Animal Farm.
"Every one is equal, but some are more equal than others".

Anonymous,  10:15 pm  

So you were here during the 'colonial times' then? That's why you know how things were done.

Ada,  10:36 pm  

lets play devil's advocate.
I've seen people live in crazy poverty in the US, as in starvation type poverty. Is George Bush justified in living in the White house, or is the US ambassador to naija justified in having a pool?
We have alot of problems in naija, and Africa, but lets not blame everything on this 1 event. Do you even know what the purpose of the event was...that would have been good to point out as well.

Jeremy 10:46 pm  

Hmmmm - this is going to be fun.

first anonymous: my expectation of leaders of the poorest countries in the world to be fabulously rich. It is never disappointed.

Mr C: Quite. Lots of strutting cows on their four legs.

2nd anonymous: not sure why you ask this mildly facetious question. We have all seen many Pathe-news type footage of colonial pomp and pomposity, surely?

Ada: the difference is - in Nigeria/West Africa - the vast majority of the population live in poverty - 70%+. While there are extreme divides between the haves and the have nots in the US, the statistical variance is not comparable. As for ECOWAS - what an entirely useless organisation. What exactly does it do, apart from provide opportunities for travel every now and again for the diplomats of the region?

me,  10:58 pm  

Jeremy, you must be really bored to answer these comments :)

Anonymous,  2:20 am  

Mr C & Jeremy: strutting cows on their four legs hiding in human skin.

Anonymous #2: Your point is?

Ada: At least in America, MOST OF THE POOR have ACCESS to some kind of education (bad as the inner city education system may be), 24 hour light (except they don't pay their bills), and the young of the poor have FOOD ... form their blood sucking government no less.


The man speaks the truth ... clear your ears and hear well.

Anonymous,  3:03 am  

@jeremy, if you are ignorant, please just ask those who know.

ECOWAS presents West Africans - not just our diplomats as you so foolishly and ignorantly suggested - the opportunity to travel, live and trade in other countries. The problem with folks like you is simple - you make assumptions without actually finding out the situation on the ground. If you had taken a moment to get off your lazy arse and asked the thousands of Nigerians who cross into Benin everyday without the need to obtain visas, or the thousands more who visit Ghana, Togo, etc for business, you would NEVER had made such an ignorant statement. ECOWAS travel just for our diplomats? God, I've never heard anything so foolish - I travelled last year to Sierra Leone with just my learner's permit, and as a member of ECOWAS, I was allowed in.

Furthermore, corporations like WABL (West African Batteries Limited) and WAPCO were (in the case of WABL until 1996) run (efficiently) by the ECOWAS. WABL, mark you, was the largest producer of car batteries in Nigeria, and it was set up and run for several decades by the ECOWAS. Not until its merger into EXIDE did it run into difficulties with greedy Sri Lankans. The WA companies - such as WABL and WAPCO - have done or did very well. I hope these examples will allow you to do the research you should have done in the first place before you opened your gob about ECOWAS.

Many of your posts suggest that you have no idea about Nigeria, even though it is a country you apparently live in. Ask any well-traveled business man in the region, and they could easily have told you what I have taken the past 5 minutes to educate you about. Leave the expatriate gang in Nigeria and actually start interacting with the locals, maybe then you can actually get to know a little bit about Nigeria.

Jesu olugbala, gba wa l'owo omuti!

Anonymous,  9:55 am  

my god anon 3.03 don't you nkow about the ECOWAS summits? vast orgies of waste, pomp and pointless discussions, where diplomats are paid HUGE per diems just to show up? They hang around the hilton, shag loads of prostitutes, go to a few USELESS meetings, then they buy loads of tvs. AND guess what YOU PAID FOR IT through you national budget.
HAHAHAHAA you ignorant fool

Kody 10:15 am  

Mr Anonymous aka no 1 advocate of ECOWAS - first of all, as infuriating as Jeremy can be, there is really no need for insults. Are you so immature that you cannot make your point without abuse?

From what I can garner from your o so lenghty tirade, the only benefit of ECOWAS is that it has allowed us to travel across member state borders without visas. Big deal!

Since you claim to know it all, please tell me of what tangible benefit ECOWAS has been to the millions who are poor?

Controversial Anon,  10:17 am  

@ Jeremy

I've had this lingering suspicion that actually you aren't as bright as you'd like to be, and now you go and confirm it.

Remember the saying? - 'Better to be silent and remain the fool, than open your mouth and erase all doubt'.

This has got to be your most ridiculous comment yet, it is a gaffe on the level of lowest of people in our society. What is it that you said again? - 'Ecowas, and entirely useless organisation' and 'Exactly what does it do'.

I'm not going to bother telling you exactly what it is that Ecowas does, I'm sure others will do that just fine, but this is a terribly disappointing comment from you Mister, and that's putting mildly.

I hope you can eat some humble pie by retracting those comments, and accepting that you are, yet again, wrong!

Jeremy 10:26 am  

CA: you didn't answer the question: what does ECOWAS do? Just as one can perpetually ask 'what does the EU do? What does the AU do?'

You were being a bit thick to not realise it was partly a rhetorical question.

The fact that so much of West African trade involves smuggling across borders tells you all you need to know about the current effectiveness of Ecowas in engaging and boosting trade across the sub-region..

ud,  2:01 pm  

You know one of the reasons why we never get things done in Nigeria/ Africa is that we don't like to be criticized or should i put it this way we dnt like to accept constructive criticism in any way.

Granted there was confusion on what ECOWAS does and all and I have learned that even though we see the bad in all these organizations, we should not forget that there are also people working extrememly hard and Honestly too to make sure that the purpose of ECOWAS for example is achieved ...
"to promote economic integration in "all fields of
economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters ....."

someone mentioned free travel among ECOWAS states and am sure for Nigeria it has boosted the movie industry and other economc ventures I might not be able to speak for.

So with that, it is not fair to generalize that the whole of ECOWAS is doing nothing...

On the other hand, it is VERY CORRUPT ..we should not waste our time trying to act as if is not there..

of course Jeremy is controversial because he is not African most importantly but if you listen to Wole Soyinka a lot ..he says things in the same u attack him...?

we really need to quit the defensive nature , address our problems yes ADDRESS them and look for ways to solve them as abstract as it may sound and also all these can be done in a Diplomatic way...

i have to run for now

anonymaus,  2:13 pm  

A few points I'd like to make

1) The ECOWAS region is one of the poorest regions on this planet. The government of Nigeria is characterised by rampant wastage (this is not only confined to the government). Given the fact that most of the populace are poor. Is it wrong for the government to demonstrate a sense of solidarity with the people by making drastic cutbacks in it's diplomatic and civil service?

2) President Shehu Musa Yar'Adua declared himself to be a "servant leader" and revealed his assets (something that his deputy had considerable difficulty in doing..., but in the end he managed it).

This is a good start by the president, in that it shows money is not his "be all and end all". However, it shouldn't stop there. A comprehensive root and branch survey of where cuts could be made, could save millions (if not billions) of Dollars, if this were implemented at all levels of government.

That money could then be put towards local worthy causes. I believe this would be well received by the public, if such a course of action was undertaken.

3) As regards lavish spending on hosting these conferences etc. Do delegates have to have the lastest gismos to perform their jobs, considering that they belong to poor countries? As long as they can accomplish their task in a clean and secure environment, isn't that what counts?"

I'll give you an example, India's economy currently is the fourth largest in the world.

Here's the link:

Until 2002, their Prime Ministers (equivalent to Nigeria's presidents) patronised the locally produced cars, called "Ambassadors".

culled from this paragraph

"...However, the Ambassador hung around gamely, because it received patronage from the Central and state governments. It used to be the vehicle of India’s Prime Ministers until 2002, when (then) Prime Minister AB Vajpayee opted for a BMW. Today, the government, which used to buy 20,000 units every year, is looking at other cars. Recent estimates show it buys only 3,000 Ambassadors, as the babus prefer SUVs and other luxury cars..."

Here's th link:

Now, if a country whose economy is so large, until fairly recently can save money by using their local automobiles. Only since 2002 have they now changed, to SUVs and BMWs (they can now afford it). No one disrespects India these days.

what is wrong with less pricey vehicles being used to ferry diplomats and other VIPS around. The money saved could go to a local charities/NGO right there in Abuja.

4) ECOWAS is meant to be the West African version of the EU (European Union, formerly known as the EEC - European Economic Community). Right, in Europe one is aware of how the EU is making it's presence felt to the ordinary man in the street. I remember when in Portugal, there were loads of these signs/ billboards with the EEC/EU flag declaring that one project or another(bridge, dual carriageway etc), were sponsored and financed by the EEC/EU (and was adorned with the navy blue flag and a bunch of golden stars).

Apart from the intervention of ECOMOG (in Liberia and Sierra Leone), how does ECOWAS make it's presence felt amongst the ordinary citizens of that region? When a problem occurs, do people even think of ECOWAS?

Anonymous,  2:55 pm  

Why o why,do you have to insult people.just because he is white does not mean he has no right to his own views.

Anonymous,  3:20 pm  

@jeremy, since pearls of wisdom shoot off your tongue every time you open your mouth, would you please tell us what % of West African trade is smuggled and where are the main sources and destinations?

Furthermore, I am sure even you must be aware that Nigeria is the main destination for smuggled goods. Reason: Nigeria has exploited its size in West Africa and put in place protectionist measures that ban the importation of many foodstuffs and goods. Whether or not this violates ECOWAS charters is another issue entirely. The point YOU and similarly ignorant people like you need to take away is that Nigeria is the main destination for smuggled goods. But, of course, you didn't know about that either.

I see that you have back-tracked from your now-infamous statement that ECOWAS is best just for regional travel for diplomats. Well, you already said it - ain't no taking it back.

@ anonymous 9:55, you have no argument or indeed anything to contribute.

@ kody, anon 3:03 was rebutting Jeremy's argument, not making a case for ECOWAS' job to the millions of poor across West Africa. ECOWAS was created for a purpose - poverty alleviation has never been their main goal - (it's been about regional integration from the start), however, and if you had read through the document that created ECOWAS in the first place (or subsequent amendments), you would have realised this.

@ jeremy, 10:26 once again - I see you have not done anything towards retracting your incorrect statement about ECOWAS being just for the diplomats of the region to travel to conferences (suggesting some elitism in the ECOWAS structure). The problem (I'm guessing) is that you've never seen West African passport holders (an ECOWAS passport, just fyi) go from one country to another in the sub-region, have you? You made the assumption that only our leaders (diplomats as you quanitly put it) actually do this. Ask a well-traveled person who has been to Togo and perhaps Cameroon to explain the differences he faced at both borders, in one ECOWAS and one non-ECOWAS country.

When you grow a spine and have the decency to retract your incorrect opening post, then people will start taking you seriously. Until then, many will always associate you with this fine quote: "Better to be silent and remain the fool, than open your mouth and erase all doubt"

@anon 2:13 p.m. - is it really fair to compare the EU, which includes some of the most industrialized economies on earth to ECOWAS? Furthermore, it appears that you dismiss the role ECOWAS played in Liberia and Sierra Leone. What can be more important than the gift of peace, which even the biggest naysayers will admit was eventually achieved after a sustained commitment from ECOWAS? Those who lay down their lives for this peace (go to the Army base in Oyo State to see them and their families) will not be so quick to dismiss the contributions of ECOWAS to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nor, in fact, will informed Liberians and Sierra Leoneans.

'How does ECOWAS make its presence felt...ordinary citizens..."

Even going through the responses to the original post, you get a few answers. Hassle-free travel and industries. Not a bad start for a relatively poor organization.

What you want to do is to compare ECOWAS with our African counterparts and not the EU. Compare the ECOWAS with other organizations where development is similar to ours: SADC, The East African Economic Community, etc. Just recently, my East African brothers were jubilating that some of them could now travel from one country to another without permits. I remember thinking: 'Welcome to 1910'.

The problem with a lot of Nigerians is this 'if-it's-broken-at-all-fuck-it' mentality. ECOWAS may have its problems, but to dismiss it as thoroughly useless, or to muddy the waters by bringing in outside goals that were not part of its mission in the first place is just wrong.

Kody 6:02 pm  

If there are any vacancies at ECOWAS, I see there are some ready made candidates on this post - all adept at arguing yet managing to achieve absolutely nothing of substance

Bisola Edun,  11:00 pm  

@ controversial anonymous, you disappoint me. Methinks you secretly agree with Jeremy that ECOWAS is of no use whatsoever (except apparently, to provide ease of travel for citizens of member states), but you had to say something just to be contrary. If you have something intelligent to say, please educate us, I for one would like to know of what benefit ECOWAS is to me, an ordinary woman on the streets....

And these insults, IMHO are getting pretty boring. It's amazing how people hide behind their computers and fling insults they wouldn't ordinarily fling in person. Grow up, get a life, get off blogsville or SOMETHING, just don't be so bloody tedious!

Anonymous,  11:12 pm  

kody, you clearly missed the brilliant lecture just delivered by anon 3:20.

aside from his knowledge of ecowas and its goals, he effectively pointed out the weaknesses in an argument made by jeremy and others that shifts the focus of ecowas in order to frame the organization as weak, leaving it open to all sorts of faulty criticisms.

Anonymous,  5:17 am  

@kody, if you have anything to add to the argument, then do so. If not, then admit that you're punching above your own weight and haven't yet had the time to google anything about ECOWAS, or that you know absolutely nothing about the organization, its targets, successes and failures.

@ bisola edun, who wrote 'I for one would like to know of what benefit ECOWAS is to me, an ordinary woman on the streets....' you want to thoroughly read through the documentation that led to the creation of ECOWAS in the first place and then check the situation on the ground re: ECOWAS' achievements. Then compare the two, in light of the relatively poor countries that make up ECOWAS. ECOWAS was not set up to transform your life overnight, nor was it set up to initially usurp the role played by a regular government. I suspect the problem is that there are so many parochial and un-traveled Nigerians who have never been outside the shores of Nigeria - they have never actually driven from one ECOWAS country to another to see what it is like to move within the ECOWAS sub-region, whether it is on the Nigeria/benin expressway or by air, with just a passport and no visas. Failure to understand the ECOWAS charter is something I cannot, unfortunately, help you (or any other person too ignorant to know or lazy to find out) with. That is a demon you will slay in your own time.

ECOWAS is not perfect, but suggesting that it is useless is plain ignorant. Generous and informed posters have already disputed Jeremy's opening claim that ECOWAS only facilitates travel for our diplomatic elite. Instead of making up false goals that were NEVER a part of ECOWAS' targets in the first place, you will do best by highlighting the targets that ECOWAs has missed (off the top of my head, I can name at least five, but I want you to eschew the intellectally lazy approach and do some research yourself). Bringing up poverty alleviation (as some commenters have done) is naive because regional integration (economic, infrastructural and eventually geo-political) has always been the goal of ECOWAS. Nigeria has endless problems - as do the other West African countries. I would be exposing a shocking naivete if I listed these problems and plastered the question 'What-has-ECOWAS-done-to-alleviate-this' next to each one. A more scientific approach would be to ask: "Why was ECOWAS set up? What were the goals? Which have they missed?"

If they have missed more targets than they have met, then they can be declared a relative failure. Until then, they will remain a failure only in the minds of folks short-sighted enough to attribute ever disaster in ther own lives - from abject poverty to unemployment to a faulty television to a broken car to their incurable erectile dysfunction - to ECOWAS.

Finally, before you suggest that posters are insulting others, you want to read through your comments, acknowledge the laziness in raising the sort of question you did (when you have access to the Google), and then perhaps you'll understand the reason some posters have been less-than-patient with such absymal intellectual inertia on your part.

Good luck googling. If you had paid attention in your Social Studies class in primary school, you would not have raised such a question in the first place.

Anonymous,  5:25 am  

You'll find the aims and objectives of ECOWAS here (see link below). I also copied and pasted, for the lazy.


1. The aims of the Community are to promote co-operation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa in order to raise the living standards of its peoples, and to maintain and enhance economic stability, foster relations among Member States and contribute to the progress and development of the African Continent.

2. In order to achieve the aims set out in the paragraph above, and in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Treaty, the Community shall, by stages, ensure;

a) the harmonisation and co-ordination of national policies and the promotion of integration programmes, projects and activities, particularly in food, agriculture and natural resources, industry, transport and communications, energy, trade, money and finance, taxation, economic reform policies, human resources, education, information, culture, science, technology, services, health, tourism, legal matters;

b) the harmonisation and co-ordination of policies for the protection of the environment;

c) the promotion of the establishment of joint production enterprises;

d) the establishment of a common market through:

i) the liberalisation of trade by the abolition, among Member States, of customs duties levied on imports and exports, and the abolition among Member States, of non-tariff barriers in order to establish a free trade area at the Community level;
ii) the adoption of a common external tariff and.,a common trade policy vis-a-vis third

iii) the removal, between Member States, of obstacles to the free movement of persons, goods, service and capital, and to the right of residence and establishment;

e) the establishment of an economic union through the adoption of common policies in the
economic, financial social and cultural sectors, and the creation of a monetary union.

f) the promotion of joint ventures by private sectors enterprises and other economic operators, in particular through the adoption of a regional agreement on cross-border investments;

g) the adoption of measures for the integration of the private sectors, particularly the creation of an enabling environment to promote small and medium scale enterprises;

h) the establishment of an enabling legal environment;

i) the harmonisation of national investment codes leading to the adoption of a single Community investment code;

j) the harmonisation of standards and measures;

k) the promotion of balanced development of the region, paying attention to the special problems of each Member State particularly those of landlocked and small island Member States;

l) the encouragement and strengthening of relations and the promotion of the flow of information particularly among rural populations, women and youth organisations and socio-professional organisations such as associations of the media, business men and women, workers, and trade unions;

m) the adoption of a Community population policy which takes into account the need for a balance between demographic factors and socioeconomic development;

n) the establishment of a fund for co-operation, compensation and development; and

o) any other activity that Member States may decide to undertake jointly with a view to attaining Community objectives.


In other words, integration, integration and integration.

Some people here may not even have heard of the proposed ECO or the WAMZ.

The emphasis has always been - since 1975 - on integration and cooperation, as opposed to the change-a-nation-one-'OrdinaryIgnorantWoman'-at-a--time' approach bisola idin (yes, 'idin') appears to favor.

Jeremy 7:30 am  

Anonymous who pasted the volumes of data on Ecowas: let me be clear - Ecowas COULD be great and highly beneficial to the sub-region. At a time when oil prices are high, sub-regional trade is the way to go. I remember as a boy having to stop at checkpoints going from one European country to another, and the joy of seeing no one at the border posts a few years later. Sadly, it is not possible to move very freely from say Nigeria to Benin. This is not entirely Ecowas' fault I realise. But wouldn't it be great to just be able to get in a car and sail across to Ghana from Nigeria, without the nightmare of all the checkpoints?

Ecowas' goals of monetary union and trade integration are laudable. At present however, its work is at an abstract level that does not significantly impact the lives of the masses. There is a long way for it to go..

Anonymous,  11:42 am  

@ jeremy 7:30, I love the way you shift goalposts in your non-existent argument and in your dogged determination to find fatal flaws with ECOWAS. You get an A for effort. I am, however, tired and bored of refuting every new problem you come up with against ECOWAS. First it was 'ECOWAS is just for diplomats', something posters quickly debunked (I notice you haven't returned to that at all). Next you attempted to muddy the waters and shift the goalposts by moving away from that and unto smuggling in West Africa. When another poster pointed out the main culprit (OBJ's trade policies) to you, you fell silent on that issue.

Finally, you proceeded, like a relentless squid, to muddy the waters a bit more by calling up a childhood story of border checkpoints and suggesting that there is a 'nightmare of checkpoints' and that sub-regional trade hasn't done well.

On the second point, you want to look at the following:

[CIA World Factbook on Benin]:
Exports - partners:
China 20.9%, Indonesia 7.7%, India 7%, Netherlands 6.2%, Niger 5.7%, Togo 4.6%, Nigeria 4.3% (2006)

[CIA World factbook on Ghana]:
Imports - partners:
Nigeria 16.7%, China 13%, UK 5.7%, Belgium 4.7%, US 4.7%, South Africa 4.1%, France 4.1% (2006)

[CIA World Factbook on Niger]
Exports - partners:
France 34.8%, US 26.6%, Nigeria 18.3%, Russia 11.3% (2006)

Imports - partners:
US 14%, France 12.1%, China 7.8%, Nigeria 7.7%, French Polynesia 7.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.9% (2006)

[CIA World Factbook on Burkina Faso]:

Exports - partners:
China 41.9%, Singapore 14.4%, Ghana 5.9%, Thailand 4.9%, Niger 4.4% (2006)

Imports - partners:
Cote d'Ivoire 25.9%, France 22.8%, Togo 7.2% (2006)

Jeremy, there you have it. With the exception of Nigeria (which has a much larger GDP than the rest of the sub-region), every one of these countries is trading just fine with its partners, and your hints that there is little sub-regional trade have, again, been refuted. No doubt you will scuff at the quantity of sub-regional trade in the sub-region, ignoring very obvious facts (such as the similarity of exports and produce between the countries of the sub-region, which in itself could have put sub-regional trade at 0%) that posters will no doubt have to point to you again in the future.

Two questions:

1) Are you now prepared to retract your statement that ECOWAS is for the near exclusive use of diplomats in the region? Or are you going to doggedly stick to your first statement?


2) On the nightmare of checkpoints you mentioned, I have never encountered this 'nightmare' of which you speak. Nor indeed have any of the large-scale traders I know. Whenever I am in the sub-region, my ECOWAS passport gets me through just fine, and this is the case for dozens of traders I know who go through the sub-region several times a year. Countless times I (and hundreds of traders like me) drive from Nigeria to Benin without any stops beyond a glance at our passport, a nod of the head and a drive-through. And this is a journey I was making twice weekly at a point last year.

Please, Jeremy, find another problem with the ECOWAS setup and maybe there will be even more posters who will be generous with their time, and willing to educate you on matters many already know.

But seriously, enough with the water-muddying and goal post- shifting. Simply admit that you were wrong, retract your initial statement (and subsequent fat lies) which I am sure even you now find hilarious and let's move on.

Anonymous,  12:25 pm  

Yes pls move on.Am sure by now you know it is getting very boring.go check another blog. Thank you

Anonymous,  3:33 pm  

@anon 12:25 - why don't you move on. several people have raised good points in this post. if you lack the intellectual horsepower to understand the comments, there are less complex posts on this same blog. look for them and make comments on things you understand.

Anonymous,  8:27 pm  

My Jeremy you got slammed on this one!
As usual, I agree with you on this one. I enjoyed reading the responses and laughed at more than a few. Sadly my fellow Nigerians, just like with many other issues, never read between the lines or see beyond the surface of things. If only they REALLY KNOW.
As part of the international system (as I call it) its easier to tell if ECOWAS is true to its ‘mandate’.
ECOWAS is a joke…I’ll say so for the AU as well but some parts of it actually work. For the most part, ECOWAS is a lot of talk…rhetorical talk, resulting in lots of papers, proposals, recommendations and no action.
On the other hand it’s a very good place to earn a living! Good for all them folks riding in the cars enjoying the benefits of the talk…it aint easy to get in there but hey, they are actually doing their ‘jobs’ and getting paid for it!
The weakness of the institution to achieve more is not its fault…it lies in its mandate.
Thanks to the person that posted its aims and objectives. If you are learned, read between the lines and you’ll understand why it’s a joke. If you are in doubt just ask. If only everyone could see what goes on in those meetings (sometimes its more interesting watching paint dry!). 9 out of 10 times the outcomes are pre-determined. It’s a ritual.
Still the level of class and status that comes with being part of the system can make the outsider think its useful while those getting ‘paid to talk’ laugh all the way to the bank.
You should see what goes on in NY during the UN circus em Summit in the fall. Ignorance is bliss!

Inaoju,  10:29 pm  

@anonymous 8:27 - the person who copied and pasted the goals of ECOWAS had one purpose - to underline the importance of regional cooperation as the main target (hit) of ECOWAS. If you see any misses, then please feel free to treat some of us less discerning folks to your sheer genius by pointing them out, with examples, info, data and sources to back them up. Hinting, suggesting, etc that ECOWAS summits are useless or as some have done,that ECOWAS has failed, or going for that desperate strategy of sheer repetition (in the hope that people are brain-dead enough to believe what they hear several times) will not work. At least not with educated folks.

We await your detailed response.

Controversial Anon,  8:43 am  

@ anonymous 8.27

Read and learn - The outcomes of most international conferences are decided before hand, there are lower level officials, ministers, negotiators, diplomats etc who work tireless (sometimes for years) to reach compromises and agreements before the conferences themselves begin, that is what international diplomacy and cooperation is about.

@ the naysayer

As mentioned earlier by obviously more intelligent contributors, Ecowas is about regional integration and cooperation, and it has been relatively successful at that, but more importantly, it is an extremely important institution for it. Ecowas cannot force the hands of independent States, so it is reasonable to expect delays, missed deadlines etc, but there is evidence of its success everywhere in West Africa, for instance, there are more Nigerian companies operating in the Gambia, then there are in Chad and the Cameroon put together (the Gambia is at least 1,000km farther away from us, while we share a borders with both Chad and Cameroon), we are alarmed by restiveness in Guinea, or Ivory Coast but less so in Chad, Ecomog intervened to end wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, there is the West Africa Monetary Union underway, there is the West Africa Power Pool, there is a gas Pipeline to Ghana (do you think that pipeline is born out of economics only, or geopolitics?), there are evident cooperation such as Ecobank, there is free movement of goods, services, labour, and capital in Ecowas, as Ecowas we go into trade negotiations as 15 countries and 250million people (instead of Togo going into the Doha round as one country and 5million people, it would get crushed), we have the Ecowas CET (the new tariff system), we have the stabilization fund in Ecowas where wealthier countries like Nigeria can contribute to the budgets of smaller ones like Burkina Faso (better than begging Europeans), there is a sense of solidarity amongst Ecowas states, we carry the same passport, Ecowas aims to integrate us, our people, our economies, our infrastructure, and our resources their aim is cooperation and there is nothing more noble in international diplomacy, cooperation! cooperation! cooperation! integration! integration! integration!

@ Jeremy

If Ecowas was an AID agency, banging on about our disparately inhuman conditions and appointing itself our 'messiah' the way Bob Geldof and his buddies do, would you think it was 'useless'?

I do not think it out of place for you to 'misunderstand' the objectives or achievement of some of our institutions, because you are NOT Nigerian (at least not yet), therefore insignificant as far as this matter is concerned. What makes me sad is the flock of Nigerians who blindly follow your every word, right or wrong, to them I say - shame on you!

One has to think sometimes, not as a follower, but as a leader. The people on the other side of this argument, I am afraid, think like followers all the time.

anengiyefa,  4:05 pm  

With all these anonymouses, it's hard to remember which anonymous said what. All in all, its been quite informative and interesting, and this is what most of us want to take away from here. It's irrelevant that Jeremy has not retracted his statement. Mind you, Jeremy, like everyone else is entitled to his view. In that context, I cannot understand the importance of him retracting his statement. In fact, I would be quite surprised if he did, because Jeremy does have a point. At least I thought so, until that particularly well-informed anonymous shed some light on the ECOWAS issue. My own view is that if ECOWAS is as relevant as well-informed anonymous would like us believe, we would all know about it already, and would not need to be lectured. This is a discussion not a battle, and we all leave a little bit wiser than when we arrived.

Anonymous,  7:02 pm  

@ anon 8:43 a.m., thank you for your very nice post. One correction - it seems like Chad and Cameroon were put in the same category in your post. Chad is actually in ECOWAS - the reason, I think, that Nigeria is not so hot on investing in Chad has been because of the Chadian government's reluctance to allow private ownership of some key sectors of their economy. I am not sure, though.

Anonymous,  12:26 am  

i think y'all just relieved jeremy's boredom for a bit. Was it as good for you people, as it was for J?
you clearly just toying with people...nice to have a blog innit?

Jeremy 5:12 am  

I second Anengiyefa's comment: its interesting to hear there is a mix of opinion on Ecowas - some think it is irrelevant, others are passionate advocates. Its very similar to how Europeans think of the EU. I've appreciated all your comments. It can sometimes be unfortunate that blog commentary can turn abusive so very quickly, but I let it pass.

Anonymous,  6:38 am  

@ jeremy, I love the way you reverse directions and backtrack from wrong statements you make. Yoruba call it 'ta idi s'eyin' (i.e. reverse!)

Anengiyefa 5:51 pm  

" seems like Chad and Cameroon were put in the same category in your post. Chad is actually in ECOWAS.."

Anon 7:02 PM, please check again. Chad is not in ECOWAS. Google 'ecowas member states' and see for yourself..

ECOWAS has 15 member states, and the only two countries whose names start with C, are Cape Verde and Cote d'Ivore.

Anonymous,  8:07 pm  

@ anengyifa, you're right - chad isn't there. spot on. my bad.

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