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Niger Coup: ECOWAS Lacks Diplomacy, Which is Only Option To Restore Democracy To Niger, Says Daniel Bwala

“There is a law of leadership that says if you are leading and no one is following, you are simply taking a walk.”

Daniel Bwala, lawyer and former spokesperson for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential campaign, has said that diplomacy, not the threats that have been issued by the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) to the military Junta in Niger Republic, will restore democratic rule to Niger.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, Bwala said that the ECOWAS, which is headed by President Tinubu, has a problem with diplomacy, as he claimed that the organisation doled out threats without attempts to be diplomatic. 

Speaking about ECOWAS, he said, “There is a law of leadership that says if you are leading and no one is following, you are simply taking a walk, that appears to be the situation that ECOWAS is in at the moment.”

He went on to say that ECOWAS was the only organization that is taking the controversy in Niger on a very serious level, saying, “As we speak up till today, the American government has not designated what happened in Niger as a military coup, because if it did, the US government is required by their law to cease all military assistance, technical support and diplomatic relationships. The French government has not taken any measure comparable or commeasurable to what the ECOWAS is in discussion with.”

Explaining his views further, Bwala said, “The problem we have with ECOWAS I think is diplomacy. That is the problem that ECOWAS has. ECOWAS ruled out their threats before ever initiating the rule of diplomacy. There are facts that the ECOWAS must live by, must come to terms with. Number one is that the Niger military junta will not bow to their threats and sanction because it appears they have moved on. Even their president, the ousted president was allegedly reported as having signed his resignation and has gone home.

“Number 2, the military strike may cause a complex situation that may escalate to what we call the African Spring, you know, remember the Arab spring. And If that happens, then even the leaders of ECOWAS states themselves may be removed from power. Number 3 is that diplomacy, not ground standing, is the only option to return to democracy in Niger.”

Bwala then urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Ecowas to tread carefully, as the coup that happened was a bloodless coup, and “when a coup is bloodless, you don’t resolve it by blood.” He then said that the sanctions placed on Niger were going to be counter-productive as the Nigeriens seemed to be in support of the military junta. He said, “Even these sanctions that they are placing on Niger without engaging diplomatically, at the end of the day, the whole attempt is to make sure that the Nigerien people, you know, feel like the military junta is not a legitimate government and then they will react against the government.

“There are theories that said that that also may be counter-productive because every single citizen of Niger at the moment appears to support the military junta because of the dissatisfaction about the West and their influence on their democratic leaders. So, the bad side of it is that you might think the sanction is going to press them hard and make him unpopular, and they may convert that into renewed energy to engage against West African States. This is why ECOWAS has to be very careful.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi