The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi has they called upon the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States to give precedence to dialogue and diplomacy as they endeavour to reinstate democracy in the Niger Republic.
The West African regional organisation has been confronted with the challenge of reestablishing political stability in Niger subsequent to the overthrow and apprehension of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military on July 26th.
During the recent emergency meeting on Niger held in Abuja, Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States made the decision to deploy its standby force with the aim of reinstating democratic governance in the West African country.
In response to the current crisis, Obi expressed his views on Twitter, emphasising the importance of prioritising diplomacy as the primary approach to resolving the situation.
The ex-governor of Anambra State emphasised the significance of granting the people of Niger the chance to expeditiously transition back to a representative democratic system through their established national institutions.
Obi acknowledged the imperative for ECOWAS to actively inhibit the proliferation of military dictatorships in the West African region. However, he emphasised the need to exercise restraint in resorting to armed deterrence, advocating instead for the utilisation of multilateral diplomatic institutions.
The post read, “Recent developments in the neighbouring Niger Republic have become the subject of international attention. For Nigeria, this development is a matter of dire and urgent national interest and security.
“Inevitably, Niger is a hot-button issue for ECOWAS, as well as various international interlocutors. Regardless of the positions taken by various parties that have direct or tangential interests in Niger, primacy must be given to dialogue and diplomacy towards a resolution with minimal disruptive impact on Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
“A total diplomatic resolution must take into consideration the realpolitik of the West African sub-region.
“I applaud the respective mediatory efforts by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Whereas ECOWAS authorities have indicated that they remain open to various conflict resolution options, diplomacy must remain the overarching imperative in resolving the present crisis.
“I join the many well-meaning Nigerians who have advocated that any intervention in the crisis, should be pre-eminently through diplomatic dialogue among all strategic interests in the crisis.
“It is therefore important that the people of Niger are allowed via their national institutions, the opportunity to revert quickly to a representative democratic government. All national, regional and international assistance should be extended to the people of Niger to return their country to normalcy.
“While ECOWAS must seek to discourage the spread of military dictatorships in West Africa, the recourse to armed deterrence must be retrained by multilateral diplomatic mechanisms.
“What the situation in Niger urgently calls for is a concerted multilateral coalition of Nigeria, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN towards a programmed return to a democratic constitutional order. In this process, Nigeria’s leadership role must not be in any doubt.”