Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has urged African leaders to tackle the disease that warrants coups and not its symptoms.
While condemning the coup in Gabon, Atiku, who came second behind President Bola Tinubu in the last presidential election, maintained that African leaders must put in efforts to sustain democratic governance in Africa.
In a post on X on Thursday, Atiku urged the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to open channels for diplomatic engagement.
He wrote, “The coup in Gabon stands condemned. Democracy and democratic governance have come to stay as a preferred form of government, and everything should be done to enthrone, nurture, and sustain it.
“As I suggested in the case of the Niger Republic, the ECOWAS and African Union authorities should open a window of diplomatic engagement that will pave the way for the soldiers to return to the barracks.
“The latest coup brings the number of military takeovers in Central and West Africa to 8 since 2020. This is worrisome and calls for introspection. We may have to focus on dealing with the disease and not the symptoms that birth coups.”
The military takeover in Gabon is coming one month after a similar incident happened in Niger where Presidential Guards overthrew the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum.
A dozen soldiers had appeared on Gabonese national television, announcing the cancellation of election results said to have been won by incumbent Ondimba Ali Bongo and the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.”
The mutineers led by the head of the republican guards, Gen Brice Nguema , also closed the borders until further notice.
The announcement came after President Ali Bongo, 64, was re-elected for a third term, extending his family’s half-century rule over the oil-rich Central African country of 2.3 million, but the opposition described the poll as a ‘fraud orchestrated’ by the ruling party.
The Bongo family, one of Africa’s most powerful dynasties, has been in power since 1967. Bongo is the son of late President Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for almost 42 years, from 1967 until his death in 2009.
Meanwhile, Tinubu has expressed concern over the rising cases of coups in African countries, calling for a comprehensive consensus against the spread of “contagious autocracy” across the continent.
The President said he was committed to working with other African leaders to defend democracy on the continent.
Tinubu stated this in his first response to the Wednesday morning coup in Gabon, just as the United States, United Nations, European Union, France and the Commonwealth voiced concerns over the political development in the Central African country.