ECOWAS Chairperson Bola Tinubu Pledges Firm Action Against Coups, Reaffirms Commitment to Democracy

Jul 10, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The newly elected Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Bola Tinubu, delivered a resolute message on Sunday, 9th July, underscoring the bloc’s unwavering dedication to democracy as the optimal form of governance. During his visit to Bissau alongside fellow West African leaders, the Nigerian President emphasised the need for steadfastness in the face of coups, aiming to address the recurring challenges that have plagued the region. With five coups occurring in three member countries since 2020, Tinubu’s stance reflects the urgency to safeguard democratic principles and restore peace and stability to the sub-region.

In a press statement issued by Dele Alake, special adviser to the President on special duties, communications, and strategy, Tinubu expressed deep concern over the escalating threat to peace within the sub-region, citing the alarming rise of terrorism and the emerging pattern of military takeovers. He stressed the necessity for immediate and concerted action to counter these threats and their detrimental impact on the progress and development of the region.

Tinubu called for a collective response from member states, pledging to harmonise frameworks under his leadership to realise ECOWAS’ vision. Recognising the need for a comprehensive security architecture, he highlighted the importance of both kinetic and non-kinetic operations, including preventive diplomacy. Additionally, he underscored the significance of initiatives such as the Regional Plan of Action on the Fight Against Terrorism 2020-2024 and the operationalisation of the ECOWAS Standby Force on the Fight Against Terrorism.

Acknowledging the trust bestowed upon him through his election as Chairperson, particularly as his first participation in the summit following his election as President of Nigeria, Tinubu expressed humility and dedication to serving the interests of the community. He outlined his priorities, including political stability, peace and security, regional economic integration, and the strengthening of ECOWAS institutions, emphasising that democracy and good governance are essential foundations for sustainable development and peace.

While deeply troubled by the recent surge in coups d’état in West Africa, which have forcibly usurped popular mandates, Tinubu urged ECOWAS to firmly defend democracy. He emphasised that leaders should remain true to their original aspirations and not misuse the resources entrusted to them, particularly the armed forces whose duty is to protect the sovereignty of their nations. He called for a resolute stance against any erosion of democratic principles, asserting that ECOWAS must not be toothless but rather work to strengthen democratic institutions, uphold human rights, and ensure the rule of law.

Tinubu also pledged to enhance engagements with authorities in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea to facilitate a swift return to democratic rule, emphasising the importance of adhering to transition timelines. In support of these efforts, ECOWAS Commission Chief Omar Alieu Touray cautioned these countries about the consequences of failing to meet their obligations, including potential sanctions.

Bola Tinubu’s ascension to the position of ECOWAS Chairperson marks a significant milestone in the regional body’s commitment to democracy and stability. His resolute stance against coups, dedication to democratic principles, and focus on strengthening regional cooperation underscores the importance of collective action in promoting peace, security, and sustainable development in West Africa. By prioritising the restoration of democracy and the consolidation of democratic institutions, Tinubu aims to create an environment where the aspirations of the people can be realised, fostering a brighter and more prosperous future for the region.