Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, has encouraged ECOWAS leaders to put communication and diplomacy at the forefront of their efforts to restore democracy in the Niger Republic.
After President Mohamed Bazoum was toppled and imprisoned by the military on July 26, the West African bloc has struggled to reestablish democratic order in Niger.
But reacting in a post on his Twitter handle on Sunday, Obi said “diplomacy must remain the overarching imperative in resolving the present crisis.”
The former Anambra State governor said that it is important that the people of Niger are allowed the opportunity to revert quickly to a representative democratic government via their national institutions.
While he admitted that ECOWAS must seek to discourage the spread of military dictatorships in West Africa, Obi maintained that the recourse to armed deterrence must be retrained by multilateral diplomatic mechanisms.
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.”