How to avert coups in West African countries – Don

* Badejo canvasses credible institutions to provide for people’s needs

Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Babafemi Badejo, has charged West African leaders to address leadership deficit and corruption if they want to prevent military intervention in governance.

The don at Chrisland University, Abeokuta also harped on the need for the leaders to build credible institutions to provide for the need of the people and as well strive to curtail negative external pressures.

Badejo, a former Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, spoke in a statement titled, “Questions about the impending war next door”, in reaction to the ECOWAS’ ultimatum seeking restoration of the ousted civilian government in Niger Republic within seven days and threat of probable use of force.

The don, however, canvassed the use of diplomacy to handle the situation in Republic of Niger as he raised questions which need to be answered by the Nigerian government and ECOWAS.

The statement reads in part: “On July 26, 2023, Mohamed Bazoum, the elected president of the Republic of Niger was pushed aside in a coup d’etat.

“This is an unfortunate development. However, the coup makers are consolidating and mobilizing the populace towards an acceptance of the development.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu rightly called for an extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS Authority on July 30th, and a communique was issued at the end of the meeting.

“The ECOWAS Authority put in place a number of sanctions, including closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger Republic, institution of an ECOWAS no fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger and freezing of the country’s assets in ECOWAS states.

“Going further, the ECOWAS Authority issued an ultimatum
seeking the restoration of the overthrown order within seven days and threatened the probable use of force for non-compliance and in this regard, asked the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff to start meeting.

“A number of questions needs to be answered before the Nigerian government goes to war:

“Has the necessary resolution of the UN Security Council been sought with a certainty that there will be no veto making an ECOWAS war illegal as ECOWAS got stopped over Cote d’Ivoire?

“Has costs and benefits analysis been done by the Nigerian authorities for the short, medium, and long-term, especially under the current financial problems Nigeria is facing?

“Given the refusal to reimburse Nigeria’s efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the past, is Nigeria able to fund a possible war with the Niger Republic as others in ECOWAS cajole her to lead, and as usual carry most, if not all of the yoke?

“How will the ECOWAS leadership close Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso – countries with sympathetic military regimes to those in power in Niger and the possible availability of counter air power instruments?

“Has Nigeria pondered on a perceived weak Niger Republic entering into wider alliance(s), including with other stronger governments, organized and unorganized terror franchises?

“Has the Nigerian government carefully reflected on the Nigerien views, popularity, or not of the coup plotters, and the implications of this for any military action?

“Is Nigeria prepared to lead a process towards a truncated ECOWAS?”Is Nigeria acting swiftly to please external interests, without a thoughtful consideration of the all-round implications for ECOWAS, Nigeria, and its people, if a Libya type internationalised war starts next door?

“Diplomacy is superior to threats of the use of force that may be difficult or impossible to implement. Preventing coups in West Africa, is not by sanctions and threats but by addressing leadership deficit and corruption, curtailing negative external pressures, as well as the building of credible institutions to provide for the needs of the people,” Badejo advised.

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