The Nigerian newspaper “The Guardian” reported extensively on Friday that the Nigerian federal government led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu is preparing for war in the Republic of Niger, just as it did in Ivory Coast in 2010.
History Repeats Itself
The report explained that twelve years ago, specifically in 2011, Nigeria was optimistic about engaging in the war in Ivory Coast due to a dispute over the presidential elections in that country. At that time, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), just as President Bola Tinubu is the head of ECOWAS today. There were presidential elections in Ivory Coast on October 31, 2010, with multiple candidates. President Laurent Gbagbo received 38 percent of the votes, while Alassane Ouattara received 32 percent. Since no candidate received up to 50 percent of the votes, the two main candidates, Gbagbo and Ouattara, held a runoff election on November 28, 2010.
Ivory Coast 2010 Elections
The newspaper continued that on December 2, 2010, the Independent Electoral Commission in the country declared Ouattara the winner of the runoff with 54 percent of the votes. However, on December 3, 2010, the Constitutional Court, which had the authority to validate and review the election results, announced that President Gbagbo had been re-elected with 51 percent of the votes.
The newspaper added that Ouattara became the UN representative or assumed the role of the authority to validate presidential elections in an African country. Nevertheless, President Gbagbo, backed by the Ivorian army and civil service, took the constitutional oath for a second term. Meanwhile, Ouattara, who was hiding in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan under the protection of UN peacekeeping forces, declared himself president. There was a deadlock with two claimants to the Ivorian presidency.
Here, Nigerian intervention took place. President Goodluck Jonathan, the head of ECOWAS, was not just a mediator but a warmonger aiming to oust President Gbagbo, who was described as a stubborn leader unwilling to relinquish power. Jonathan supported the UN representative’s position. The newspaper noted that just as Jonathan entered the fray, President Bola Tinubu entered the political battle in the Republic of Niger. He did not act as a mediator but as a democratic fighter leading ECOWAS on a mission to teach the coup leaders a lesson for their audacity in toppling an elected president. Regardless of the local circumstances that may have led to the coup, there was no consideration for the head of ECOWAS, who had only spent two months in his position as the President of Nigeria. His election victory was still being contested in court.
Hinting at Intervention Despite Internal Failure
The newspaper affirmed that the president has shown no evidence of how he plans to address the Boko Haram insurgency, the proliferation of banditry and kidnappings in Nigeria. Yet, he is engrossed in restoring democracy in the Republic of Niger after overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023, in a coup led by the Republic of Niger. The Economic Community of West African States imposed several sanctions on the coup leaders and gave them a week to reinstate Bazoum or face military action. During its second extraordinary summit on Thursday, August 10, 2023, ECOWAS activated the standby force to execute its final warning.
Tinubu’s Fervent Pursuit
The report questioned why Tinubu is so fervently pursuing leadership of ECOWAS in war against the Republic of Niger. Unlike Jonathan, ECOWAS, under Tinubu’s leadership, bypassed the UN Security Council’s decision on the threat of war against Niger. Tinubu seems to be playing the role of a big boy in a major league with his appointment as the new mayor of West Africa as a “smokescreen.” In the end, Jonathan obtained a UN Security Council resolution for military intervention in Ivory Coast, but he and ECOWAS were marginalized in the military operation. Despite their danger in the war, UN peacekeepers and French forces captured President Gbagbo at the presidential palace on April 11, 2011. In the end, Ouattara was inaugurated as president on May 21, 2011.
The report added that President Gbagbo was sent to trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he remained in custody for ten years. President Jonathan and ECOWAS have become pawns for the “international community” to maintain France’s economic grip on Ivory Coast. This grip Gbagbo had tried to dismantle. Similarly, Tinubu and ECOWAS could be immersed in a proxy war in the Republic of Niger on behalf of France and the United States to preserve the West’s economic exploitation of this country. However, it seems he is deluding himself into thinking he’s a big boy playing in the big league.
The Worst Ignoramuses in History
The report concluded: “Perhaps Tinubu and his advisors are the worst ignoramuses in history and political geography, just like Jonathan’s escapade in Ivory Coast. Tinubu, unlike Jonathan, lacks depth in political decisions and acts hastily, much like firing a shot before aiming. Just as in Ivory Coast, the term ‘international community,’ a euphemism for the United States and NATO, may help achieve a terrifying victory for ECOWAS, led by Tinubu, in the military invasion of the Republic of Niger if France and the United States provide air cover for aerial bombardments of ground forces. This may be the commitment that encourages Tinubu to throw caution to the wind. But afterward, Tinubu could only plunge into a fratricidal war with the Republic of Niger for the West’s economic interests in their continued exploitation of African countries. Except for the vague claim of promoting democracy, no specific benefits for Nigeria or ECOWAS have been elucidated from ECOWAS’ invasion of the Republic of Niger to reinstate the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum. Almost all stakeholders in Nigeria opposed ECOWAS’ military invasion of the Republic of Niger led by Tinubu. But does Lagos City boy (referring to Tinubu) care? Tinubu seems indifferent, as he has always been able to flaunt the expected success of his audacity in stirring up war in the Republic of Niger.”