Is ECOWAS ready to go to war with our closest ally (Niger Republic) to protect “democracy”? Is ECOWAS prepared to face the armed forces of Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic backed and trained by Russia’s Wagner? The military governments in Mali and Burkina Faso warned of an armed intervention in Niger and will counter with force. Guinea also sided with the putschist leaders. Can we ignore the angle of widespread arms in the region in the hands of miscreants, which the war will promote? We know that in many parts of West Africa, armed groups are swarming like ants on sugar, pulled by a mixture of weak states, bleak economic prospects, burgeoning populations, a punishing climate, and bad and irresponsible governance. Can we worsen the situation by igniting a disastrous war in the region? After Niger, Nigeria may be the primary target for destruction, and then Ghana and other countries. No, it is not worth maintaining the kind of liberal democracy we have in place. Based on living conditions, social amenities, and corruption, some people cannot distinguish between liberal democracy and military dictatorship. The lack of difference between the two types of governance is why ECOWAS is losing the support of its citizenry to take military action against the Junta in Niger. Nigerians unite against military action in Niger due to its tremendous regional catastrophe. Despite the ECOWAS resolution backed by the AU and the UN, many Nigerians oppose military intervention in the neighboring country. The Islamic clerics who met with Mr. Tinubu, last week volunteered to mediate in the crisis due to their opposition to war and the close ethnic and religious ties between Nigeria and Niger.
Thank God President Tinubu has listening ears and said, “If you take ECOWAS aside, other people will react, those who are outside of our control. I am the one holding those sides back. I am the one holding back ECOWAS.” The only option for both the Junta and ECOWAS is to discuss to find an amicable solution. The members of the Junta may sound fearless, but beneath the façade, they are cowards as they were said to have relocated their families out of Niger in case of military intervention. So, they will better agree to ramble, save their skins, and allow the parties to nurse their wounds caused by their irresponsible thirst for power.
Meanwhile, many readers responded to my 2-part piece on this subject, and I am presenting an edited version of the selected reactions. Happy reading.
Well articulated, Prof. Your delving into the economic aspect as it affects Nigeria is rich and commendable. The move for war by ECOWAS is the hand of Esua but the voice of Jacob. ECOWAS is just playing the script of the colonialists: USA, France, NATO, and UN. The Junta has openly come out to be against the interest of France, which, to me, is commendable and should be encouraged. For too long, the wealth of the Republic of Niger has been there for taken by France with impunity. A civilian puppet like Buozoum will forever dance to the beating drum of France, although outside, he might be shouting against them. France understands the message of a madman better, which the Junta is spitting, hence the call for ECOWAS to intervene. France has toppled many democratically elected governments in Africa more than any other country. Should ECOWAS be against France and side with the Junta or proclaim war in Niger. Whose interest is ECOWAS protecting? The Nigeriens have come out to show solidarity with the Junta. USA, NATO, and UN calling on ECOWAS to go to war is just for their interest: the Gas pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria and Morocco. Was there no ECOWAS when Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali toppled their democratically elected leaders and came under military rule? Why should ECOWAS suddenly start calling for war now in Niger? As you rightly pointed out, there will be more coups in Africa, especially the francophone countries, except France, related to its former colonies as independent nations. The Junta in Niger should be approached diplomatically and encouraged to quickly return to democracy rather than plunging the region into chaos and confusion. Thank you.
Alhaji Usman Mamman Ngulde
ECOWAS fears the extension of coups in other African Countries, particularly those within their square. However, the consequences of what ECOWAS tries to do in Niger Republic with their military force must be evaluated. From all indications, the people of the Niger Republic are happy with the military coup, not knowing that what happened will draw their nation backward in all ramifications.
Yahaya Musa Barau
Prof., you have said it all! Honestly is heart-provoking when you listen to ECOWAS giving the option of using military force against the Junta without looking at what France has been doing to the citizens of the Niger Republic. Where were ECOWAS Heads when the three countries (Guinea, Burkina Faso & Mali) came under military rule? Why are ECOWAS Heads not questioning the rationale behind the military bases of the US and France in some of their countries? What are these Military bases meant for if these countries are independent? As you rightly pointed out, there will be more coups in Africa, especially the Francophone countries, except France & the West, which relate to their former colonies as truly independent nations. Approaching the Junta with diplomacy would be a better option than using force by ECOWAS. PBAT (President Bola Ahmed Tinubu) should trade cautiously because their target is not NIGER REPUBLIC alone but Nigeria. Hence, PBAT has to lead the community with wisdom & avoid plunging the region into chaos and anarchy!!!
ECOWAS has to do the right thing at the right time to promote unity, peace, and progress, not war that will result in massive destruction (devastation) of lives and properties and other consequences.
Thank you for constantly educating, motivating, and enlightening us with your excellent and resourceful articles (columns); thank you very much for working around the clock to find relevant solutions to our daily challenges (problems). May Almighty Allah guide, bless, and protect you; may He continue to bless and unite Nigeria and Niger, amen—more golden ink to your golden pen, Sir (Prof.).
Prof., good evening; you have said it all on measures to be undertaken to avoid the costly mistake of going to war with the Junta. It is good to give diplomacy a chance, and with some sanctions such as border closure and stoppage in aid from the donor countries, it will force the Junta to set a timeframe for return to democracy. May Allah help us avert this catastrophe
Dr. Isiaku Sani