By; IBRAHIM ADAMU, Kaduna
Chieftain of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Olabode George has advised President Bola Tinubu not to send battle troops to Niger Republic, saying war with the neighboring Francophone country would only aggravate an already dire situation and throw West African Subregion into chaos.
Bode George, a retired senior Naval Officer in a statement advised Tinubu in his capacity as leader of Economic Community of West African State(ECOWAS) to explore diplomatic means to resolving the leadership crisis in Niger, following the ouster of President Mohammed Bazoum by military headed by commander of presidential Guard Abdurrahman Tchiani on July, 26.
He observed that Nigeria had a lot of economic, social and political crises, adding that going into war would cause additional burden on an already saturated nation.
“The population of Niger Republic is 27,294,785 (just like Lagos State). Niamey is the capital and the population is 1,437,000 (not up to Alimosho Council in Lagos) and as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who gets security briefings everyday since you were sworn in on May 29, 2023, you may have been told that even a Brigade of the Nigerian Army, commanded by a Colonel, can crush the soldiers in Niger Republic.
“When you have a crisis within, you solve that first before going international with a ‘Big Brother’ posture. In your last national broadcast, you even admitted that Nigerians are going through a lot and everything is being done to alleviate their suffering.
“In Nigeria today, there is no food, no financial power to buy fuel, no light, no money. Nigerians are psychologically stranded and people are really going through a lot. So, I don’t know what our going to Niger Republic with full military power will achieve.
“If you remember, Nigeria, almost singularly, financed ECOMOG military operations and that was when our economy was better. Which economy are we going to use now to finance a full military operation in Niger Republic, when Mali and Burkina Faso have threatened to take sides with Niger Republic?
Will this not lead to the collapse of ECOWAS? Do we really know the type of partisan game Western Powers, on one hand, Russia and China, on another hand, and some other African countries, are playing behind the scene? Can we really trust any one of them? Should Nigeria’s interest not play a major role before taking any decision of this gargantuan dimension which can lead to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
“I saw a video today of some Nigeriens, on a road show, backing Tchiani and abusing you. That may have been arranged by the coupists quite alright but do we need that type of distraction now when everything is being done to ensure that Nigeria moves its economy to the next level.
“Do we know the involvement of Russians because of the Uranium in Niger?
In Nigeria, the electoral process is yet to be concluded, the palliatives you promised because of the removal of fuel subsidy payment are still in the air, so why do we want to send our soldiers to engage in a needless war.
“In ECOMOG, Nigeria paid for almost everything. But the economy then was different from what we have now.
“We all know that Nigeriens, directly or indirectly, are fighting the French because of Assimilation Policy which has affected the Francophone speaking countries, unlike what we have in English speaking countries, like Nigeria. We should think twice before entering another country militarily. Don’t start what you cannot finish.
“Niger is one of the largest (land border) countries in the world and also one of the poorest. What exactly do we gain if we go to war in Niger?
“So that people can praise us as a defender of democracy, When people are dying at home, do we need that type of commendation from anybody?
“I am a retired General, I know war is not easy. Please, don’t force Nigerians to engage in an endless war.
“Despite its mineral wealth, Niger Republic has been held down by its leadership for decades. More than 75 per cent of Nigeriens are poor and uneducated. At the right time, if they don’t want Tchiani, they will get rid of him.
“Let Nigeriens deal with their rot and let us focus on how to save our own situation back home.
I am sure you know that seven Northern states – Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno – share a 1,608 kilometres border with Niger Republic,” he said.