Abeni Aso-Oke

An Open Letter to the esteemed Leadership of African Union and ECOWAS. -July 30, 2023

Abeni Aso-Oke

Subject: Urgent Appeal for Restraint and Dialogue in Niger Republic. By Chidi Ekeh

As concerned citizens and advocates for peace, democracy, and the rule of law in Africa, we write this open letter with heavy hearts, reflecting on the recent events that have transpired in Niger Republic. The military coup on July 28, 2023, which saw the democratically elected leader, Mohamed Bazoum, being overthrown by mutinous soldiers, has sent shockwaves through the region and raised alarm bells regarding the future of democracy and stability in West Africa.
We implore the African Union and ECOWAS to take a thoughtful and cautious approach in responding to this crisis. While we understand the urgency of the situation and the need to uphold democratic values, we firmly believe that military intervention in Niger would only exacerbate the already delicate situation. It is our humble plea that you consider alternative approaches and focus on the path of dialogue and negotiations as the means to restore peace and democracy in the country.
Throughout history, African nations have fought against colonialism and oppressive regimes to claim their sovereignty and self-determination. Today, we find ourselves at a critical juncture where we must protect and uphold the principles that our forebears valiantly fought for. Military intervention, no matter how well-intentioned, would amount to an attack on Niger’s sovereignty and could lead to unintended consequences that may further destabilize the region.
Democracy remains the best form of governance for our continent, but we must also recognize that its unchecked abuse by some African leaders has, unfortunately, provided legitimacy to coups and military juntas. It is crucial for the African Union and ECOWAS to set up robust mechanisms to checkmate one another and prevent any backslide on the rule of law within their respective states. The strength of these institutions lies in their ability to collaborate, protect democratic institutions, and foster an environment where dialogue, not military might, is the preferred method of conflict resolution.
As wise leaders often say, “When you hold a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Resorting to military force in response to the crisis in Niger may seem like a quick solution, but it risks exacerbating tensions and further dividing the nation. Instead, we urge you to embrace the wisdom of our ancestors, who taught us that “he who seeks peace must prepare for dialogue.” It is time to bring all stakeholders to the negotiating table and create an inclusive space for dialogue, where the concerns and aspirations of all Nigeriens are heard and respected.
We commend the quick and decisive condemnation of the coup by neighboring West African nations, such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal, who have called for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum. These actions demonstrate the commitment to democratic governance and regional stability. However, we must also be cautious about external influences, including reports of a Russian connection in the aftermath of the coup. While there may be no concrete evidence of direct involvement, it is essential to remain vigilant and mindful of potential external manipulations that may further complicate the situation.
Our continent’s future lies in unity, cooperation, and the collective pursuit of peace and progress. We cannot afford to allow internal divisions or external interests to undermine our efforts to build a prosperous Africa. The African Union and ECOWAS must seize this opportunity to show the world that Africa’s strength lies not in the might of its armies but in the resolve of its leaders to resolve conflicts through peaceful means.
In conclusion, we humbly appeal to the leadership of the African Union and ECOWAS to exercise restraint and wisdom in dealing with the crisis in Niger Republic. Let us be guided by the adage, “The wise man builds bridges, not walls,” and work together to create a bridge to peace and reconciliation in Niger. By prioritizing dialogue and inclusivity, we can lead Niger and the entire region back to the path of democracy, prosperity, and unity.
We trust in your wisdom and statesmanship to make the right decisions for the people of Africa.
Sincerely,

Abeni Aso-Oke

Chidi Ekeh Founder, Nigerians’ Tribute International write from Abuja Nigeria

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