President Nana Akufo-Addo has blamed weak and unresponsive leadership for the slow pace of integration among member states of ECOWAS.
This comes on the back of the closure of Nigeria’s borders with Benin, a decision adopted to halt smuggling.
Addressing the conference on ECOWAS Court of Justice in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said the sub-region cannot make the strides required if leaders fail to show the political will required to deepen economic integration.
Our problem over the years has been leadership. The implementation of plans to bring progress and prosperity to the 350 million citizens of ECOWAS has been left to well-meaning technocrats and bureaucrats. However well-meaning they may be, our region cannot make the bold transforming changes it needs to make without visionary political leadership. We need leadership that is focused on the region and not on individual countries. Once the political will is evident, we can then work together to make ECOWAS a true regional community,” he said.
Nigeria closed its frontiers in what it says is to stop the smuggling of products from its neighbouring West African countries into Nigeria.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
The closure of the borders would be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, however, if the issues remained unresolved, there was no guarantee that the borders would be reopened after the twenty-eight (28) days.
However, the move has affected trading in neighbouring countries including Ghana where the Ghana Union of Traders Association has condemned the closure describing it as an outright breach of ECOWAS treaties.
Following a meeting between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries, Ghana and Nigeria will soon set out modalities to allow for the free movement of goods to Nigeria.