Olufemi Ogunleye, a veteran journalist, has said that the use of threats and military interventions to resolve political interregnum currently in Niger Republic by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may not work as the political impasse in the West African country requires internal solutions rather than external interventions.
Ogunleye, who is a monarch in the Owu Kingdom of Egbaland in Ogun State, declared that ongoing political impasse troubling the francophone, land-locked West African country is synonymous with the 1974 coup that ousted the first president of the country, Hamani Diori, explaining that Niger is good at always using internal political solutions to resolve their political issues.
Recall that a group Nigerien soldiers regarded as the Presidential Guard that was meant to protect Mohamed Bazoum, the democratically-elected president of Niger Republic, seized power on July 26, which paved way for Abdourahmane Tchiani, a general and head of the Presidential Guard to declare himself as the new Head of State.
Although, the coupists were said to have seized power on account of bad governance and worsening security, the coup de’tat did go down well with regional organisations on the continent such as the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the two had slammed some sanctions on Niger in addition to the threat of military interventions.
Speaking on what could be done by Nigeria and ECOWAS to avoid worsening political situations in Niger and West African region, Ogunleye, who was deployed to Niger in 1974 as Daily Times Correspondent to cover the coup de’tat that ousted late President Hamani Diori, said Niger always has a way of resolving political issues internally and the use of external force might aggravate the situations.
The veteran journalist, who worked with a series of national newspapers in the 1960s and 1970s, including Morning Post, Middle Belt Herald, New Nigerian and Daily Times, noted that Major Jalud, the then Prime Minister of Libya, neighbouring country to Niger, tried in 1974 to use external interventions to stop Lt. Col Seniy Kountche, the leader of the coupists but did work.
While recalling what transpired between Libya and Niger in 1974, Ogunleye said that Major Jalud had finished arrangement to invade Niger to help reinstate ousted President Hamani Diori in accordance with Libya-Niger agreement, but he was rebuffed by the coupists as they said, “this is our internal affairs that requires no external intervention”.
Ogunleye, while advising President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria and the Authority of Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS through an article written and entitled “Coup in Niger Republic: Nigeria must observe ‘C’ caution”, asked Nigeria and ECOWAS to learn a lesson from past coups in Nigeria, saying “I wonder if Nigeria can learn a lesson.”