In the last couple of days, two brotherly and sisterly countries were almost on the brink of war neither of which any of them could fathom or justify. The big brother Nigeria has become entangled in a far fetched multilateral moral pretense of regional formation called ECOWAS that it has jettison its fundamental primary responsibility to the constituency (Nigeria) that gave it the legal authority to that membership.
Since the coup deta in Niger some weeks back, President Tinubu has found himself walking on a very tight rope. He has never been exposed to international diplomacy and can fittingly be called a novice in this field. The fact that he is an emperor with total dominance of the most populous and prosperous State of Lagos does not confer on him any wisdom in diplomacy. But he is also the luckiest Nigerian president had he desired to harvest from the wisdom and experience of former Presidents and Heads of State Nigeria is so richly blessed with.
I thought President Tinubu would have from the onset looked into the chemistry of the cocktail called ECOWAS before taking weighty decision on any issue that affects the region and its consequences on his country which he is presidenting! Had he done so, he would have found out what is the history of One of the oldest members the region that is President Alassane Quattara of Ivory Coasta. There was a time when Quattara’s nationality was in dispute, that his ancestoral country was Mali. President Lauren Ghabbo disqualified him from running as president even though he was at one time the prime Minister of Ivory Coast! But today he is the President of Ivory Coast. By a twist of fate there is today a military junta in Mali (his ancestral home) running the country and we have not heard President Quattara asking for a war to be launched on Mali in the name of DEMOCRACY. The saying blood is thicker than readily comes to mind.
Back to Nigeria and the face off with Niger. There is total unanimity in Nigeria that we should not go to war with Niger for the so many many reasons given by all and sundry especially the seven States contiguous to Niger Republic! In any case the Senate mandated by Nigerian Constitution to authorize the President with such power has unambiguously withheld that authority.
The next thing for President Tinibu now is to embark on damage control and repair and this brings him to the time to now harvest from the connection and wisdom of our former Presidents and Heads of State as someone rightly advised over BBC Hausa service. These Leaders are highly respected and trusted not only in our sub region but globally. It true there is no love lost between President Tinubu and some of them, but certainly, on any issue that affects Nigeria no matter how remote, those Leaders will always be there for Nigeria! Time is not on the side of both countries. What we had in last one thousand years has been lost in matter of few weeks. But we have the bond and love for each other to build on. May Allah bless Nigeria and Niger. Ameen.
Lamido is former Nigerian Foreign Minister.