COMMENTARY. President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has made some threatening remarks on the ongoing events in Niger at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Is this bad for the Niger Move for Freedom?
Despite the recent coup, Niger has had a peaceful start away from the colonial snares it once had a few months ago. The EU, the United States, France, and some members of the ECOWAS bloc have threatened to execute a military intervention in the country.
The military junta has suppressed the situation and maintained a high level of maturity in their diplomatic interactions.
However, with President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria making very obscene threats, is this bad for the Niger Move for Freedom?
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s president, who has been facing corruption allegations and election rigging charges, said that he was seeking to re-establish constitutional order in Niger.
He stated that this was going to address political and economic problems and he was bound to welcome any support for the process. His speech attacked military coups in Africa. He said:
“The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favour towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems,”
“Regarding Niger, we are negotiating with the military leaders. As chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region.”
Bola Tinubu should only support and not dictate anything
Bola Tinubu is the chairman of ECOWAS, which has been threatening the Niger military junta with military intervention. ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy troops to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts fail. However, the efforts have not yet proven any results, as the military junta remains firm in its fight for a better Niger.
The approach Tinubu wants to take in Niger poses a threat to the newfound sovereignty of the citizens of Niger. The majority of Niger’s population supports the coup. The excitement in the population has been experienced through mass protests against the French military and the French Embassy.
Protesters have been seen raising Russian flags and burning those of their colonial master, France. These events indicate dissatisfaction with the previous government and the desire for change.
Any decision by Bola Tinubu and ECOWAS, who have been held hostage by Western powers, could potentially be a threat to the democracy of Niger, which is preparing to restore constitutional leadership in the country.
ECOWAS had made calls in August to activate a so-called standby force for a military intervention in Niger, raising fears of a war. The war could further lead to the destabilisation of the insurgency-torn Sahel region.
The Niger junta had to order its military force to go on the highest alert due to an increased threat of attack.
An ECOWAS intervention in Niger should be strongly condemned. The threat of external military intervention should be considered a last resort. Interventions that do not involve diplomatic efforts should be taken with extreme caution. Diplomatic efforts, negotiations, and dialogue must be given priority to prevent further instability in the region.
Increased colonial Western influence in the region. In an attempt to shun neo-colonialism from Western countries, it was essential for the military takeover. Concerns about Western influence in ECOWAS decisions are valid.
It is important that African nations, including Niger, maintain their sovereignty and make decisions that are in the best interests of their citizens. Organisations like the European Union, African Union, and ECOWAS should support and not dictate the decisions of a country and possibly offer regional solutions.
President Bola Tinubu and ECOWAS should maintain diplomatic maturity and offer solutions that will see Niger prosper on an international stage like the United Nations General Assembly.
Increased Sahel Region instability as the region has been plagued by instability and insurgency. Any attempt to cause further destabilisation poses a significant concern. All parties involved in the Niger crisis should consider the potential consequences of their actions for regional security and peace.
“If one day you hear the Europeans praise me, know that I have betrayed you,” said Samora Machel, Former President of Mozambique.
President Bola Tinubu should not betray his African brothers.
By Baya Osborn, writes about Conflicts and Security Studies, in the World of Politics. Osborn (lucrust.com) is based in Kenya.