ECOWAS, a once vibrant regional body but why the current low-approval rating among citizens?

Founded in 1975, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took off with so much hope as the establishment was considered a step towards continental self-sufficiency, African unity and economic co-operation and integration.

The ECOWAS with its highly rated objectives including a check on the regional democracy, the formulation and transcendent of economic and trade policies and activities beyond the colonial boundaries of the individual West African countries, creating a much bigger trading market and opportunities for Africans to bond.

The concept was widely accepted by the Pan- African community due to its potentials of setting admirable examples of good governance and unity as it brings together a total of 15 countries at a time where most of these countries whom were hitherto locked in colonial shackles and equally divided by artificial demarcations were gaining independence and gradually healing.

At this point, the introduction of a united body to build a collective voice and strength, as well as one that serves as a peacekeeping force was not underrated. ECOWAS was the need of the times as it brings together countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

In recent times however, this once revered political and economic bloc seems to be losing its fragrance as negative reviews pop-up each time a conversation is held about its activities. Many people in the Pan-African community and beyond hold the view that the ECOWAS has lost proactivity and is equally losing grip on its core mandates.

A common concern is the trailing on its function of building and upholding a matured democracy across the region. Contrary to this, west Africa has witnessed gross disrespect for democracy by a power hijacking cartel, consistently committing constitutional coups, propagating electoral frauds in order to extend their terms in office against the constitution.

The likes of Guineas Alpha Conde, Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, and other long-serving presidents riding behind authoritarianism developed the propensity for and the proliferation of military coups in the region. Apart from the coups, insecurity and the activities of jihadists have equally increased, paving way for foreign forces instead of the regional bodies to take center stage in the security affairs of the region.

Analysts believe all these have contributed immensely towards the seeming loss of reputation by the Economic Community of West African States. What is your reason for the recent loss of interest in the ECOWAS?

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