• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Niger coup: A test of will for Tinubu as ECOWAS chairman

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Life is an examination, so are challenges we confront as individuals, a nation, or as a continent.

On Sunday July 9, 2023 His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, was appointed as the Chairman of Africa Subregion organisation, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Tinubu in his acceptance speech emphasized on the sustainability of democracy in West Africa, stating that democracy is the best form of government due to its legitimacy on fundamental human rights.

Tinubu therefore, frowned at coup d’état in West African States.

The coup d’état in Niger Republic on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 by Nigerien Presidential Guard and detention of Niger President, Mohamed Bazoum was viewed as an aberration and against the letters of democratic norms.

However, with this Military intervention in Niger, a test of will beckons on Nigeria’s President who also doubles as the Chairman of ECOWAS.

Africa remains the Centre piece of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, with Nigeria’s President being the chairman of ECOWAS, a test of will beckons on him.

There has been a lot of criticism that Tinubu who is yet to stabilise his cabinet and fighting in all fronts at home, should not be at the forefront of restoration of democratic rule in Niger Republic. Some observers said that may be trying to use that to gain foreign popularity and legitimacy and having less popularity in his home country as President.

Read also: Niger Coup: ECOWAS, FG seek international help restoring democracy

It will be worthy of note that on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 the Organised Labour in Nigeria under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) engaged in a protest with heavy security presence due to fuel subsidy removal and high cost of living in the country.

Part of their demands is the reduction in high cost of governance in the nation, reduction of tuition fees and the likes.

The fuel subsidy removal has resulted in increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol, one of the major sources of Nigeria’s economy.

President Tinubu made the announcement of fuel subsidy removal on his inauguration day as President of Nigeria.

Some Nigerians believe that Fuel Subsidy removal by Tinubu is not the way out and that it has altered economic prosperity in the land but the average educated citizens believe that fuel subsidy removal by Tinubu’s administration was the way forward for restoration of economic buoyancy in Nigeria.

Niger Republic Armed Forces and Nigeria Armed Forces formed a counter Military presence against insurgency in the border.

If care is not taken the situation in Niger Republic might get out of hand and then spread throughout West African States, that’s one of the reasons Chief of Defense Staffs of West African States held a meeting recently to safeguard West African States and embrace stability within West Africa most especially in Niger Republic.

Despite the hullaballoo over the political situation in Niger, some Nigeriens are happy and in support of the hijack of democracy in the country with their supporting protest to welcome the Military Government.

Several actions have been taken by government of diverse countries having relations with Niger as sanctions against the country over the coup d’état by the Presidential Guard of Niger Republic.

France has withdrawn her relations with the Government of Niger calling on the Military to relinquish power.

Abdourahmane Tchiani, head of Niger’s presidential guard, named himself head of transitional government on Friday July 28, 2023.

He made the announcement on state-run television, saying he was the “President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.”

He has long suspended the constitution of the land immediately.

His bone of contention was to avoid the gradual and inevitable demise of the country.

As democracy is the order of governance by ECOWAS as stated by the Chairman, there is hope of restoration of democratic rule to Niger Republic.

West Africa States have threatened to form a force in the restoration of democracy in Niger Republic.

There is this strong will that the counter force in the restoration of democratic rule to Niger Republic by confrontation might lead to a full-scale war between West African States and Niger Republic Military because Niger has been suspended from ECOWAS as member state.

It is a test of will for Tinubu. Many are watching with keen interest how far he will go in this all-important assignment.

Since 1990 till date, there have been 43 coups with 41 failed attempts in Africa.

Nigeria’s President between 1999 till 2007, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was seen at the fore front of fight against military incursion into politics in Africa during his tenure as Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman, this was said to be due to his military prowess as a retired General.

Tinubu is seen as a strategic individual with his foresight, the piece of advice on the lips of many observers is that he should first stabilise the situation in his homeland (Nigeria) before aiming for foreign intervention (Niger Republic?)

Our take is that there is need for sufficient dialogue before confrontation in this situation.

.Akingbohungbe, author, leadership and government consultant, writes from Ogun State, Nigeria. Email:. [email protected]