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Nigerian Politics

As ECOWAS Leaders meet: What’s going to be the outcome? Peace or War?


As ECOWAS Leaders meet: What’s going to be the outcome? Peace or War?

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Dr Abdalla Yakubu

As ECOWAS leaders meet to consider the next steps for Niger Republic to return it to civility, I wish to challenge the narrow minded thinking that coup d’état are positive for any nation. Let me start in a light note by stating this real joke that in Africa no one dies naturally. Someone is always responsible for someone’s death. And so, someone must be responsible for our poverty as a nation, and it is usually the big economies.

I will not be naïve to assume or even speculate that the Western Nations have not had major impact on our economy and has in many ways pulled down our ability to prosper. However, for anyone to assume that military rule is equal to freedom and emancipation is total nonsense. I dare to say that such persons must be brain dead. Our government is therefore right to pursue every means to restore sanity, civilian rule in Niger Republic. I am very glad that our President is consulting widely with many governments especially African Countries in order to arrive at the right solution.

With the help of my young friend Comrade Auwal Mahmud (can’t remember seeing his red barrette) we examined the facts on coup d’état in West Africa and the attendant prosperity that these brought to the various nations.

Here are the facts:
1. From 1952 to date there has been 95 coup d’état in West Africa. If you assume that Sudan is North Africa, then we had 78.

2. Out of these 78 coups, Niger had 8, Chad 7, Sierra Leone 10, Mali 8, Burkina Faso 10, Guinea Bissau 9, Benin 8, and Sudan 17. These are the poorest countries in Africa.

3. Then Ghana had 10, and our own Nigeria had 8.

4. Niger is 2nd poorest nation in the world. In their league are Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Senegal, and Gambia.

5. Of the poorest countries only Liberia, Togo, Senegal, and Gambia never had a coup d’état.

Examining the above summarised statistics, it very clear that if military rule brings prosperity or freedom, these nations would have been more prosperous than most countries in Africa. It is by share luck of size that Ghana and Nigeria escaped the top 30 poorest countries in Africa. In Nigeria, we almost got it wrong with Obasanjo’s 1st coming, which was an absolute disaster.

I have often seen this argument that the West is responsible for our poverty in Africa. My understanding is quite simple, when you know the technology to refine palm oil, why don’t you set up a processing industry to process palm oil? When you have crude oil, when don’t you sent up the facilities to process the crude oil and sell the products to the world? The answer is simple, whether military or civilian, they are all the same – lack of good leadership. Unfortunately the same military that comes with the song of justice and anti-corruption would always end up being kleptomaniacs and often worse that the so-called ‘bloody civilians’ that they kicked out. The truth is, we are yet to see any military rule in West Africa that had a semblance of anti-corruption except for Jerry Rawlings in Ghana during his 1st coming, and possibly Thomas Sankara whom we wouldn’t know if he would not have been another Idi Amin if he had live longer. Ask Ghanaians about Jerry Rawlings 2nd coming.

In my view, we need to stop blaming other nations and do self-examination as nations and leaders. The two keys to prosperity are manufacturing and constructions. These two can create employ more than 50% of any nation. But where nations are mainly consumers and not producers we end up with people struggling for the control of the raw materials that will give them access to consumer products in Europe. So here we are; blood diamond, blood uranium, blood oil, blood gold etc, and the monies are hoarded for consumer goods. There are no clear philosophies for good governance, manufacturing, constructions or even other horizons such as ICT. Who bewitched West Africa?

For Niger Republic this is coup d’état No.8. All the other 7 coup d’état were blamed France and the US. Now Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic want Russia in, to do what? To do exactly what they say France and the US has been doing to them. They will rule as fascists and operate like Napoleon. Let us ask the simple question here, since Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea had 25 coup d’état all together, what real changes have happened to the poor people of their countries?

In my view the worst civilian rule you know is still better than the best military rule you know, because at least there is a semblance of people participation. There is therefore no basis for military rule in Africa, and especially West Africa. We all look stupid to even think that way in the 21st century.

The question is that is meeting of West African head of States going to reverse the coup’de tat in Niger republic? Is ECOWAS going to allow peace to reign in her territory or war is the outcome of their meeting ?

I pray that the ECOWAS leaders will have a clear head to think right, and get rid of the rubbish in Niger.

Dr Abdalla Yakubu, a UK-based researcher. He wrote this from London