The maladministration of countries in Africa by their respective leaders is at the root of the incessant military coups that are taking place on the African continent. In Africa, some political leaders had tinkered their countries’ constitutions to elongate their constitutional terms in office. Again, some presidents of African countries looted their countries’ financial wealth and trampled on the fundamental human rights of their compatriots. So it can be surmised that the political maladministration of African countries by their political leaders is the chief trigger for soldiers’ staging of coups on the African continent.
Not unexpectedly, the wave of coup d’etat is sweeping through African countries, toppling myopic, profligate, unresponsive, corrupt, and inept democratic governments there. So now, military rule, which is regarded as an aberration and anathema, is the vogue in Africa, especially in West Africa. Sudan is now synonymous with coup d’etat. Guinea, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger republic are under despotic military rule.
The military putsch in Niger republic that ousted President Mohammed Bazoum from office happened within the period when President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria was made the chairman of ECOWAS, the regional economic bloc in the West African sub-region. The coup d’etat that took place in Niger republic will be a litmus test for the leadership ability of President Bola Tinubu, who is the newly-elected chairman of ECOWAS. His actions and inactions will, no doubt, help to determine the political trajectory of Niger republic, a landlocked and impoverished francophone West African country.
It should be noted that a majority of the political leaders of countries that make up ECOWAS had given the coupists an ultimatum to restore Mohammed Bazoum to power. However, the deadline for them to comply with the directive of the ECOWAS leaders had elapsed, without the coup leaders obeying the order. Rather, Tchiani, the coup leader, and his co-coup plotters have continued to cling to power. They have called the bluff of the ECOWAS leaders’ sabre rattling and threat of brinkmanship.
So far, the Nigerian senate had rejected President Bola Tinubu’s request for the use of military force to oust the Nigerien coupists from power. And northern senators whose states are contiguous to Niger republic had advised President Tinubu not to use military force to remove the coupists from power. Their counsel has added an interesting twist to the Nigerien political conundrum.
The coup d’etat that took place in Niger republic will be a litmus test for the leadership ability of President Bola Tinubu, who is the newly-elected chairman of ECOWAS
Given the fact that Niger republic and Nigeria’s northern states share common boundaries and ethnic and religious bonds, President Bola Tinubu, who is desperate to take military action in Niger republic, which will portray him as a true democrat, should tread carefully on the delicate matter. He should resist the urge to take actions regarding the coup in Niger republic, which will aggravate our own problem of disunity.
As Nigeria is divided along ethnic and religious lines, the northern muslims may revolt as a show of solidarity with their ethnic brothers in Niger republic if Nigeria leads soldiers to Niger republic to reinstate the deposed President Bazoum to his office. That will compound the parlous security situation in Nigeria, deepen our disunity, thereby putting Nigeria at the grave risk of suffering implosion or disintegration.
Now, Nigeria is bedevilled by security challenges ranging from the Boko Haram incubus in northern Nigeria to the Fulani cattle herders’ menace in the entire Nigeria. And in the southeast, the IPOB separatist group has not been crushed, totally. The Igbo people still observe weekly Monday sit-at-home, which is causing the haemorrhaging of the economies of the southeast states.
So why Nigeria, which has not tackled her security challenges successfully, will contemplate leading the ECOWAS military offensive to sack the military government in Niger republic baffles me. But the answer to the question is not far-fetched. President Tinubu wants to be in the good books of Britain, France, America, and other European countries. He wants to be seen as a man who is strengthening the institutions that are bastions of democracy in Africa.
But President Tinubu’s engagement in a vainglorious military crusade to oust the Nigerien coupists from office should not be at the expense of the lives of Nigerian soldiers and our financial wealth. His funnelling of our country’s money into the restoration of democratic rule in Niger republic at a time our economy is distressed will not be a wise decision. And sending our young soldiers to die needless deaths in Niger republic will not be acceptable to us.
Incredibly, and ironically, too, the people of Niger republic feel that the military coup d’etat that took place in their country is an act of decolonization of their country. They are of the belief that France’s neo-colonial deeds in the Niger republic are hurting their country. So they staged street protests to show their displeasure with the presence of the French people in their country.
From the foregoing, should we cry more than the bereaved? So it behoves President Bola Tinubu, as the leader of ECOWAS, to use conciliatory methods to resolve the leadership problem in Niger republic. Dislodging the new military government in Niger republic will not be a walkover or cakewalk for the ECOWAS military forces, as they anticipate. Rather, it will be a long-drawn war as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea may rally together to assist the coup makers in Niger republic, militarily. And President Tinubu should bear in mind that restoring democratic rule in Niger republic will come at a very huge cost. Nigeria will lose huge sums of money and suffer wastage of human lives in that military crusade.