Niger Impasse: Obi Wants Diplomacy To Take Primacy.
The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 election, Peter Obi has broken silence on the raging standoff between Nigeria, the Economic Community of West Africa states, ECOWAS, and Niger Republic over the July 26, 2023, military coup in that neighboring country.
In a series of tweets from his official handle on Sunday, Obi cautioned that greater importance should be given to diplomacy above every other crisis resolution option available.
“The recent developments in neighboring Niger Republic have become the subject of international attention and Nigeria 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”
But regardless of the positions taken by various parties that have direct or tangential interests in Niger, Obi advised that “primacy must be given to dialogue and diplomacy towards a resolution with minimal disruptive impact on Nigeria and the West African sub-region, and must take into consideration the realpolitik of the West African subregion”
He applauded the respective mediatory efforts by the former Head of state, Gen. Abudusalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, and the 14th Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
“Whereas ECOWAS authorities have indicated that they remain open to various conflict resolution options, it is imperative that diplomacy should remain the overarching imperative in resolving the present crisis.
“I like to 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.
The former Anambra state Governor said that “It is imperative that the people of Niger are allowed via their national institutions, the opportunity to revert quickly to a representative democratic government. And that all national, regional, and international assistance should be extended to the people of Niger to return their country to normalcy.
According to Obi, “While ECOWAS must seek to discourage the spread of military dictatorships in West Africa, the recourse to armed deterrence must be restrained 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.