Global affairs analyst, Austin Aigbe, has expressed his concern over the growing outburst of coups on the West African subregion, following the recent coup staged in Niger.
According to him, democracy is gradually deteriorating due to the breakdown of governance. He revealed that it is also a worrying scene that people are taking a direction and supporting some form of militarization in their countries.
“The West African region is gradually snowballing into a military situation and military taking over. This is the fourth and there’s a likelihood that there may be more because of the democratic challenges. Democracy is not now able to deliver the democratic dividends to the people.
“When you see military taking over and there’s excitement from citizens, it sends a very strong and wrong perception – look at what happened in Mali, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Guinea and now the same thing has happened in Niger, where people will troop out in the streets and literally sing songs of the military junta…”Austin Aigbe
Mr Aigbe stated that the Nigerien citizens seemingly are excited about the military takeover of the country, due to their thronging of a stadium cheering the junta on. He noted that he hears people genuinely saying they were tired of the democratic system and getting excited because they just wanted the President to exit.
“They didn’t have the means to sack the President, but they are excited about those who had the guts to sack the President. Talking about impoverishment and all of that in Niger, Mali is also worst-case scenario, Burkina Faso is poor. In the last three years, we’ve had this regime ongoing, what Niger has learnt is just to take a clue from there. Look at what happened in Guinea – on the day the military took over, there was excitement on the street.
“People thought they were going to head towards an El dorado, a state where there’ll be no more poverty… But months and years have gone by and there’s no revolt, the people are just angry but angry within. Until a change of government happens in Guinea, you will not see it from the voices and faces of the people…”Austin Aigbe
Concerns over ECOWAS’ position on Niger coup
On his part, ranking member of parliament’s defense and interior committee, James Agalga, exposed the gravity of the coup, insisting that there is a very “serious problem” with the processes that led to ECOWAS coming out with its ultimatum to the military regime in Niger.
Furthermore, Mr Agalga expressed concern over President Akufo-Addo’s support of ECOWAS’ plans for Niger. He explained that this is happening against the backdrop of what happened much earlier when Ghana committed troops to the Gambia to deal with Yaya Jammeh when he refused to step down after losing the elections.
With this, he noted that Parliament made a strong statement against the situation whereby Ghana commits its troops to any foreign military intervention without parliament’s prior approval.
“It appears we haven’t learnt lessons at all. So, this whole thing came to us as a big surprise when our President defied parliament and went ahead and actually took part in issuing threats and ultimatum to Niger. Whatever happens in Niger, whether ECOWAS has a zero tolerance for coups or not is an internal matter and should have been treated as such.James Agalga
Moreover, Mr Agalga questioned the reason behind ECOWAS’ display of “double standard”, especially at a point in time when Burkina Faso has experienced multiple coups with no military threats by ECOWAS. Additionally, he noted that similar situation has occurred in Guinea and Mali and ECOWAS has not threatened military action.