Former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) has revealed that the junta leader has ruled out returning the ousted President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum to power.
Abubakar i said the Junta leader told him that the coup was successful, urging ECOWAS to focus on improving the lives of the Nigerien people and avoiding discussions centered on reinstating Bazoum.
The former head of state embarked on a diplomatic mission to Niger Republic last week in a bid to restore democracy following the recent military coup that ousted Bazoum from power,
The mission, authorized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), authorized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),aimed to foster discussions with the military rulers and find a way forward for the country.
Abubakar, accompanied by a team of diplomats, engaged in several hours of discussions with the junta responsible for the coup said the interactions proved promising, holding the potential for a peaceful resolution to the democratic turmoil in Niger.
Upon returning from Niger, General Abubakar held a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He added that as the ECOWAS chairman, President Tinubu was briefed on the outcomes of the discussions with the junta.
In an exclusive interview with BBC Hausa Service, Abubakar shed light on the topics discussed during the meetings in Niger and shared insights into the path ahead.
He also delved into the underlying factors contributing to military interventions in democratic governance across Africa.
When asked about the success of the mission, Abubakar conveyed optimism about the dialogue initiated with the junta.
Addressing the timeline for the country’s return to democracy, Abubakar highlighted the progress made through dialogue.
He acknowledged the junta’s willingness to engage in conversation and emphasized that the information about a three-year timeline for democracy’s return was included in the report presented to President Tinubu.
The responsibility now rests with ECOWAS leaders to deliberate on this matter and determine their course of action.
Abubakar further revealed the junta’s pleas to ECOWAS, requesting the reopening of closed borders to allow the entry of essential commodities.
Additionally, they sought the restoration of electricity by the Nigerian government to support socio-economic activities in Niger.
Notably, Abubakar shared insights into his interactions with the ousted President Bazoum, describing improvements in his condition compared to their earlier visit shortly after the coup.
Acknowledging the impact of economic sanctions, General Abubakar stated that the measures had taken a toll on Niger’s socio-economic landscape.
He expressed concern over potential military action proposed by ECOWAS against the coup plotters, urging a peaceful approach to resolve the crisis.
Abubakar’s interview concluded on a hopeful note, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and the potential for a peaceful return to democracy in Niger.
The mission’s initial challenges, where General Abubakar and his team were denied entry into the country due to public anger towards ECOWAS, were also addressed.
It was explained that the public’s resentment had escalated due to economic and political sanctions imposed on Niger.
However, the situation has improved over time as public understanding grows, recognizing the shared goal of restoring democracy.
In light of the rise in coup attempts across West Africa, General Abubakar attributed the phenomenon to credibility issues within electoral processes and political leadership.
He cited instances of leaders manipulating constitutions and electoral laws to prolong their terms in office, which has fueled discontent and prompted military interventions.
To address these challenges, General Abubakar advocated for adherence to electoral rules and regulations, the avoidance of candidate imposition, and the electorate’s focus on long-term benefits over short-term gains.
As the region navigates these complex issues, General Abubakar’s diplomatic efforts stand as a beacon of hope for a peaceful resolution in Niger and a blueprint for tackling the broader challenge of democratic stability across West Africa.
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