President Bola Tinubu on Saturday charged the United Nations (UN) to firm up its position against unconstitutional power takeovers and coup d’etat, lamenting the prevalence of the unconstitutionality in West Africa.
President Tinubu, who made the call in Nairobi, Kenya, also called on African leaders to respect democracy, the rule of law, ensure political stability and disincentivize coup d’etat on the continent.
In his statement at a high-level event organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the margins of Fifth Mid-Year African Union (AU) Coordination Meeting, the President urged African military institutions and states to recognize and respect the need for democratic renewal.
The Nigerian leader, who is also the Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said coups d’état should be discouraged on the continent, especially in the face of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity, and climate change.
The President, in his statement presented by Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it was regrettable that West Africa, despite its numerous instruments and mechanisms for promoting democracy and good governance, is leading other regions in the use of unconstitutional means to change governments.
According to a press release issued by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, the President warned that the ugly trend of the military straying into the political arena is causing threats to peace, security and stability, and engendering poverty, displacement, and humanitarian crises.
”This ugly trend has only succeeded in threatening the peace, security and stability of the sub-region and by extension the African continent, leaving in its trail poverty, internally-displaced persons and humanitarian crisis. In the same vein, this ugly trend has also led to food shortages and escalated health challenges.
”We therefore must take deliberate steps to address the root causes of unconstitutional changes and coups d’état in Africa. As a continent, we cannot make progress toward achieving the goals and targets of the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, as well as those of AU Agenda 2063 for the ‘Africa We Want’.
”Between 2020 and now, Africa has witnessed six successful coups d’état and three unsuccessful attempts. This rise in military takeovers and unconstitutional changes in government disrupts our democratic processes and undermines stability on the continent.
”It is for this reason that I call on all African leaders at all levels to make concerted efforts in respecting the tenets of democracy and the rule of law, in order to ensure political stability on the continent,” Tinubu said.
Reiterating that Africa has no intention of regressing on its democratic gains and credentials, as well as its maturing democratic political culture, President Tinubu said ”I call on all Afro-centric supranational organisations, especially the African Union, the various Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms, to individually and collectively adopt Protocols on democracy and good governance, and ensure their effective implementation.”
While acknowledging that democracy may present challenges in terms of management and dynamics, President Tinubu reiterated that it is the best form of government for 21st-century Africa.
Drawing a comparison between military rule and democratic regimes, he noted that democracy ensures good governance, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability.
Emphasizing the need to disincentivize coups d’état, the ECOWAS Chairperson urged the United Nations to take a firm stance against military coups.
”It is my view that while grappling with the challenges caused by the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other geostrategic tragedies, including insecurity and climate change, amongst others, African leaders must disincentivize coups d’état.
”The United Nations must also stand firm and unyielding in its opposition to military coups,” he said.
He also acknowledged that democracy and development are interconnected in achieving sustainable goals and the African vision, adding that commitment to democratic principles and governance is crucial for long-term peace, security, and economic growth.
As Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President expressed his readiness to work with the UNDP and other development partners to advance the course of democracy on the African continent.
”The issue of military coups and the need for democratic renewal in Africa is one that I am passionate about and indeed committed, along with my colleagues, to confront and we are prepared to change the narratives,” he said.
He commended the UNDP for launching its flagship report “Soldiers and Citizens: Military Coups and the Need for Democratic Renewal in Africa,” stating that the military has no place in the governance of the 21st Century Africa.
Jide Okeke, UNDP Regional Programme Coordinator (Africa), said his organization invited the Nigerian leader after his inspiring message, denouncing military coups, during his inauguration as Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on July 9.