Nonetheless, echoing the views of many international relations experts, Professor Bola Akinterinwa, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), believes that ECOWAS could not be faulted for laying emphasis on security and political stability.
"Economic development and political stability are two sides of the same coin and in their wisdom, ECOWAS leaders have always sought to prevent, manage and or resolve regional conflicts with the knowledge that without political stability there will be no economic development," he
As ECOWAS marches into its 37th year of existence, riding on the crest of "continuous survival," given that several similar organizations have disappeared, Akinterinwa
says the challenge of "inadequate commitment" by regional leaders including delay in the payment of assessed dues, must be addressed so as to lift the "financial burden on Nigeria, which often rushes to the rescue."
Further more, the NIIA boss argues that ECOWAS
and African leaders in general should see industrialization as a critical component of development, driven by human capital development.
"Africa needs to harness its abundant intellectual resources; utilizing its intellectuals, experts and specialists in various human endeavours to help draw up a road map for the future," he
said, warning that "perpetually looking up to Europe or America would be counter-productive in the long run."
According to Akinterinwa, ECOWAS should provide leadership to the West African region with comprehensive engagement and development dialogues involving not just Heads of State and Government and cabinet Ministers, but extended to key actors including professionals, the media, civil society, and community citizens at large.