Home Editorial That Nigeria/Morocco ‘telephone’ face-off

That Nigeria/Morocco ‘telephone’ face-off

As the heat of general electioneering campaigns intensified especially following the six-week postponement of the scheduled February 14 general election to March 28, a bizarre diplomatic row erupted between Nigeria and Morocco mid-March over whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan had a telephone conversation with king of Morocco, HM King Mohammed V1.
The whole needless and demeaning row began when it was put about by some Nigerian foreign ministry officials that President Jonathan had had a conversation with the Moroccan monarch who has some implied “divine rights’ as befit kings, over the telephone.
Though the subject matter of the alleged conversation was not disclosed when the row erupted, the Moroccan  government had condemned the Nigerian authorities in very strong terms of outright falsification of events and maintaining that no conversation took place between the two leaders.
Morocco had used the most undiplomatic of terms and language to describe both the nation’s government and her leaders, even insinuating that the concocted telephone conversation which the king declined, allegedly on Nigeria’s request, had been contrived as ‘part of internal electioneering’ of the ruling government and party which Rabat termed as ‘unethical practices that are contrary to the spirit of responsibility that must prevail in relations between states’.
And we wonder what is ethical in an Arab country with multiple personality like Morocco, to portray Africa’s largest and potentially richest nation, as ‘liars’ who fabricate things for ulterior motives?
On its part, President Jonathan’s office has let it be known that, in point of fact, the President had had a series of phone conversations with strategic African leaders including South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and so on but that the contact had been in an effort to sell the candidacy of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the minister of agriculture for the post of head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for which he is eminently qualified. Morocco was among the countries that Jonathan had slated to move into, but Jonathan had not done so yet as the row erupted.
In spite of all that, Rabat, the capital of the Maghreb kingdom, went further in statements posted on their official website to re-call her ambassador from Abuja over an imaginary incident that did not merit category C importance in international diplomacy.
The question is: whether Jonathan tried and failed to speak to the Moroccan monarch, or not, how does the king of Morocco confer an electoral advantage on Jonathan seeing that Morocco is not exactly the seat of Islamic influence in the world – not Saudi Arabia, Iran and so on? What electoral value has King Mohammed V1 to influence the domestic electoral fortunes or otherwise of the contesting political parties? He is not in charge of any of the holy sites of Islam and is even considered an apostate in the comity of global Muslims.
The preamble is needed to establish that Morocco has behaved in the most insulting and abusing manner towards the Nigerian government and President Jonathan in particular when they elevated what can be described as a ‘clerical error’ to the level of a diplomatic row.
This is unconscionable, and the consistent  diplomatic behaviour of  this hermit, repressive and internally undemocratic kingdom that has adopted ethnic cleansing as a major plank of her ultimate goal of appropriating a swathe of Western Sahara region whose indigenous peoples desired and still desire independence on the basis of self determination, stands condemned. Nigeria has consistently supported the right of Polisario Liberation Front, along with other African countries including South Africa, to self-determination.
This may be the crux of the matter between Morocco and Nigeria that has been steaming until a silly issue of whether Jonathan called and King Mohammed declined the call came up.
Morocco, it will be remembered, denied Africa the prior right to stage the last African Cup of Nations and play the tournament on the subliminal, farcical and historically racist ground that the competing teams and their supporters would expose Morocco to the Ebola epidemic that was ravaging Africa before the tournament.
The consistent attempts by Morocco to claim global standards of best practices when she is among the most under-developed, backward and repressive countries in international diplomacy is pathetic and should be repudiated by the Federal Government.
It is good that the Federal Government has instituted a panel to find out how this ‘telephone conversation’ story emanated and why Morocco decided for some flimsy, ethno-religious reasons to make out of  this diplomatic molehill, an international relations volcanic mountain.

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