Nana Yaw Mireku, an International Relations Analyst with the Legon Center for International Affairs for Diplomacy (LECIAD), has revealed that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be negotiating with the military Junta in Niger from the losing side.
He claimed that military intervention forces would need at least 30 to 90 days to be strategically and solidly mobilized. He pointed out that the ECOWAS lacked such a force, and that would cause it to negotiate from a losing position. He further said that ECOWAS lacked the formidable military arsenals and 4 times the engagement force that would be required.
“Now you are talking about an army that has been trained by Western forces for so many decades, accustomed to the idea of fighting in the Sahara, how are you going to deal with this decisively and strategically and still win it? Do you have any plan of sustaining President Bazoum’s democratic regime when he’s being reinstated? How are you going to do that? It is very important.
“You don’t want another Libya in the songs for Africa. This is what they did in Libya and today, Libya is the breeding grounds for terrorists towards the Sahel. So, we must be strategic on how we deal with Niger. Niger is considered as the frying pan of West Africa. You do not want to deal with this in Niger and it will have ripple effects for countries like Ghana. Are you ready for the inflow of refugees? What toll will it take on our budgets and the security issues?”Nana Yaw Mireku
He added that given the way Togo has not acted towards the issue, it is currently questionable whether even Togo is supporting the ECOWAS in this conflict.
Additionally, he argued that even if ECOWAS had a standby force, it was not four times as large as the military Junta and did not possess military arsenals, and that it was therefore illogical for ECOWAS to be involved in this matter at this time.
Moreover, the International Relations Analyst further disclosed that President Tinubu, the ECOWAS Chairman, was carrying out all of this for worldwide recognition. In order to boost his ego, he claimed that this was a consolidation of Tinubu’s sovereignty that could translate into local currency in Nigeria.
He also claimed that it would also help him to be viewed as the leader of this military operation in ECOWAS.
ECOWAS Should Re-Strategize
Additionally, the International Relations Analyst said it was prudent for ECOWAS to have been strategic in how it handled this issue since, in his opinion, it would not have progressed to the current stage.
He asserted that, in either case, ECOWAS was now losing credibility and that, in order to salvage its reputation, it would have to swallow its pride and find a way to work with the military junta.
“I have always said that the use of force should have been the last attempt, instead of bringing it up to the very first stage of negotiation. Of course, if you’re threatening to use force, what is the need for negotiations? However, I am very happy that there is some form of diplomacy. There is a reason why they refuse to engage with ECOWAS leaders and there is a reason why they seem to be granting audience to the Islamic scholars.
“I think ECOWAS ought to know that the future is biting back at them. We must understand that this is real politics and they are ready for negotiations but they would need some negotiation card. At the end of the day, if they are coming to talk to ECOWAS, what do they have in their hand as a bargaining chip? And this whole idea of using President Bazoum, could be a way out for them. But then again, this is a strong signal to ECOWAS that they would want to restructure, reorder, and re-strategize how they deal with these kinds of issues.”Nana Yaw Mireku
This, he asserted, was a hint that things needed to be done more effectively. He claimed that the military regimes in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali have observed the poor performance of ECOWAS, which aspires to be the moral pillar.
Also, he pointed out that there have been numerous constitutional changes to governments; some even within ECOWAS have had to rewrite their constitution to maintain power, yet these are the same individuals that advocate for the right course of action.
“So, I think that going forward, ECOWAS must put its house to order before it tries to direct its member States on what to do,” he opined.