Niger Republic: Focus on Nigeria’s challenges, Bode George tells Tinubu
• South West group warns president, Macron against declaring war
• Farounbi, scholars call for caution on military adventure
• Recommend compromise, use of diplomacy to achieve peace
Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to think deeply before trying to restore democratic governance in Niger Republic.
It would be recalled that on July 26, 2023, the Commander of the Presidential Guard in the country, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, ousted President Mohamed Bazoum through a coup d’etat.
George, in a letter written to President Tinubu, noted that Nigeria has numerous challenges. He said the steps the president has taken so far were commendable.
George said: “In your last national broadcast, you even admitted that Nigerians are going through a lot, and everything is being done to alleviate their sufferings. In Nigeria today, there is no food, no financial power to buy fuel, no light, no money. Nigerians are psychologically stranded and people are really going through a lot. So, I don’t know what our going to Niger Republic with full military power will achieve.
“We should think twice before entering another country militarily. Don’t start what you cannot finish. George said Nigeria should use diplomacy to resolve the imbroglio in the country.
South West Group Warns President, Macron Against Declaring War
Also, a South West socio-political group, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, yesterday, cautioned Presidents Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President of France, Emmanuel Macron not to commit the error of declaring war on Niger Republic.
President of the group, Akin Malaolu, said what happened in Niger Republic was a revolution against bad leaderships and government and not necessarily a coup
The group also urged President Macron remember to the Bastille Revolution of 1789 in France, whereby the masses in a uprising killed the king and queen. It also urged President Tinubu to recall the #EndSARS Youth protest in Nigeria.
The group said if the coup de’etat had gained the approval of the people of Republic of Niger, Tinubu, Macron ‘’need to tread cautiously before going to war.’’
According to Yoruba Ronu: “We must warn both President Macron and Tinubu that the people of Niger Republic have expressed their disinterestedness in the continuation of the nuisance value of democracy presently in their country. They are also ready to take ownership of their country and the form of government they would be willing to assist for the meantime. Going to war is madness, because war has never solved the reasons for war in any bad situation. In war, children and women will suffer…’’
Meanwhile, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, as well as scholars in international affairs and political history, called for caution in handling the military junta situation in Niger Republic.
The scholars included a lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Ibadan, Oluwatobiloba Adeyemi; Prof. Olutayo Adesina of the Department of History at University of Ibadan and Dr. Stephen Lafenwa of the Political Science Department of the premier university.
They described the situation as tricky, which required ‘’tactics and diplomacy in order to achieve lasting peace in the West African coutry.’’
Farounbi said: ‘’It is a tricky one that the president must handle carefully. Any military adventure will be borne squarely by Nigeria.
‘’The threat of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for military forces , can exceed Nigeria’s financial capacity. The West may supply weapons, but it will not supply military and financial resources. We must avoid being dragged into a Russian-Ukraine situation. That will be bad for our economy and democracy’’.
He commended Tinubu for sending a team to pacify the situation, saying that should have been the first option.
Also, Adeyemi said: ‘’We cannot just conclude. We have to wait to see the end of the efforts of the envoy sent there. Military force is always the last resort.’’
On cutting off power supply to Niger, Adeyemi said:”Sanctions are applied in international relations. That is the sanction. It is to frown at military takeover. Niger has also closed its borders against Nigeria.”
Adesina said:’’ The evolving Nigerien coup story is a very sad one that we hope will not evolve into a bigger tragedy. Seeing the coup as a cancer that must be excised through a painful surgical operation is right. Making the solution an ECOWAS matter is also brilliant. It shows the sub-region will, henceforth, move against illegitimate changes of government. It is a great move to make coups and military governments unattractive. It is good for our future.
Also, Lafenwa urged the president to be cautious on the way he is handling the matter.
“Diplomacy is always a better an option to war. To jaw jaw is better than war war. But, I believe, it would have been better if the full Nigerian coloration was reflected in that delegation. Some diplomats, serving or retired, should have been included in the delegation. Diplomats are trained for a situation like this. What is happening in Niger right now is not only for the military.”
George, who said countries like Mali and Burkina Faso have threatened to take sides with Niger Republic, wondered if Nigeria’s sending military troops to Niger Republic will not lead to the collapse of ECOWAS.
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