There is no doubt that the Northern region, especially the people of Fulani ethnic stock share filial, cultural and religious affiliations with the Republic of Niger. The Hausa and Kanuri people also have strong ties with Niger.
The attempt by some religious and political leaders from the North and their counterparts such as Afenifere and Ohaneze Ndigbo from the South to make the current political impasse in Republic of Niger a President Tinubu and Nigeria vs Niger affair is a very wrong narrative.
Nigeria is not starting a war with Niger. Nigeria as a member of ECOWAS is under obligation to stand by ECOWAS Resolutions on any member state and this is not the first time this will happen. ECOWAS passed similar Resolutions in Gambia not too long ago. That resolution in Gambia made it possible for President Adama Barrow to assume office in 2017 when the then strongman, Yahya Jammeh refused to concede after electoral defeat. President Muhammadu Buhari led ECOWAS military intervention that forced Jammeh out.
It must be said again that this is not a Nigeria/Tinubu vs Republic of Niger matter. Like President Alassane Quattara of Ivory Coast said, this is purely an ECOWAS affairs and a subject of regional interest to the whole of West Africa.
ECOWAS, AU, and UN Protocols are against unconstitutional takeover of government in any country. Democracy is receding in West Africa with Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea under military usurpation. Peace, security, political and economic stability of West Africa will remain a pipe dream when soldiers can take power at will. And what is happening in Niger is not about a fight for good governance.
Like venerable journalist, Dan Agbese wrote in his Guardian Newspaper backpage column, “most of the nine countries in the Sahel region are not just poor; they are wretched. Military rule has not changed their economic and social circumstances and the attraction for it ought to have waned below remembrance. The sentiment that Military rule is a magic wand has repeatedly proved itself a sickening fiction. The Nigeriens need no one to tell them that khaki uniform carries no magic in political, economic and social management and development.”
If Military rule offers any silver bullet in social and economic transformation, we should have seen the magic in Mali and Burkina Faso in the last 3 years.
– Ajayi is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity