Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

By Jimmy Fatunbi

Major PDP stakeholder in Lagos, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse, talks to The Lagosian Magazine about Niger coup and President Bola Tinubu’s intervention, in his capacity as ECOWAS chairman, to restore democracy

*As a Nigerian and major PDP stakeholder, what’s your take on Tinubu’s approach towards reversing the trend in Niger Republic?*

Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approached the National Assembly to inform that war against Niger may be  imminent in the same impulsive and reckless manner with which he terminated oil subsidy.

Anyone in a position of authority, who does not realize that weighty issues of survival or destruction must be approached with caution, will eventually self- destruct!

*Would cutting diplomatic ties with Niger have negative impacts on her economy? What does Nigeria stand to benefit or lose?*

Cutting diplomatic ties with the country of Niger will have a negative impact on Niger , but will also affect us negatively.

Keep in mind that Niger shares borders with virtually half of Northern Nigeria: Sokoto, Zamfara , Kebbi,  and Borno States. The economy of the whole area as well as the cordial social relationship of the people will be disrupted.The ethnic majority in Niger is Hausa. Nigeria’s Arewa community and the people of Niger are kith and kin. Think about it, former President Muhammadu Buhari is partly Nigerien.

*Nigerien military head of state, Abdourahamane Tchiani, is unyielding to calls to hand over power to President Bazoum. Can he survive it?*

The Military Government in Niger will survive as long as the people are supportive. Ousted President Bazoum was highly unpopular, accused of rigging his electoral victory, and of being an errand boy of France.

According to Niger’s Head of State, Colonel Abdourahamane Tchiani,  ousted President Bazoum is monumentally corrupt,and disconnected from the people.

Bazoum hails from an ethnic minority group, and barely understands Hausa, the language of the masses.

*Do you expect positive outcomes from President Tinubu’s seven days ultimatum in view of mixed reactions from the world powers to the coup?*

It is unlikely that anything positive can come from Tinubu’s/ ECOWAS ultimatum to the military junta in Niger to reinstate Bazoum.

The deadline passed today 6th August 2023 and nothing happened. In fact the military junta in Niger has established its defiance when the leaders refused to meet ECOWAS delegation led by General Abdulsalam and Emir. The delegation was kept waiting for hours at the airport, and consequently  forced to leave Niger without any meaningful discussion.

*Are there foreseeable threats to the unity of Africa if ECOWAS, AU and world powers mismanage the situation in Niger?*

ECOWAS is not a united body. It is a toothless bulldog. We should not blame Western powers for exploiting their differences. Blame visionless leaders who don’t seem aware that a new world order is forming right under our noses.

Most of the former
colonies are revolting against  continuing domination and exploitation, of former colonial masters. Consider that Mali , Guinea, Niger, and even Kenya , South Africa, and Ghana are all in the process of redefining their relationship with former colonial masters. Most of them see Russia and China as more acceptable foreign trade partners.

*In the events of war, are Nigerians with their strong relations with Nigeriens safe?*

Nobody is safe if war breaks out. The common border between much of Northern Nigeria and Niger will automatically place a significant portion of Nigeria in a war zone.

Nigerians will die. Nigeriens will die ,and no side will triumph. Troops from Mali, Guenea, and Bokina Faso will team up with Niger , and Wagner Forces from Russia will join them.

On the other hand, Nigerian soldiers have no reason to fight this war and the Nigerian public is also opposed to it.

*Should AU or ECOWAS prioritise system of government or welfare of the people?*

If AU and ECOWAS are serious about protecting democracy, they would be challenging the legitimacy of Tinubu’s own election, instead of rushing to make him ECOWAS Chairman.

Military coup d’etat occurs  in countries where the people believe that the government is irredeemably  inept, rudderless and corrupt. So far, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration is exhibiting these signs of systems failure!

*Would you read internation politics into military intervention in Niger as it came shortly after Russia’s indicated interest in supplying grains to Africa?*

The war between Russia and Ukraine is a dramatization of the emergence of a New world Order. USA , UK, Canada, France, Germany ,and other Western powers on one side , and the BRICS Nations ,( Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) , on the other.

Notice that Nigeriens were not only burning French flags , they were hoisting Russian flags. Russia and China in particular have been reaching out to struggling African countries, with the message that unlike their former colonial masters , they are only interested in trade, and will not meddle in internal politics of their country.

*What’s your take on the allegation that Russia and China are trying to use or instigate African military top brass to overthrow legitimate governments as part of their quest for world domination?*

It is not in the interest of Russia and China to instigate military regimes to replace duly elected governments in Africa. It appears that what is happening is that these world powers will work with any cooperative administration: civilian or military.

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