ECOWAS Has No Business Mobilizing A War Against Niger

Talking Before Thinking: Tinubu Has Raised Lots Of Demons Against Nigeria—Dele

Talking Before Thinking

OpenLife Nigeria reproduces a piece by Dele Sobowale who argues that Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mode of talking before thinking has unleashed lots of demons against Nigeria’s need democratic progress

“The worst thing that can happen to a leader is to look back; and find that nobody is following” – US President Lyndon B Johnson, 1908-1973.

Talk is cheap. Nigeria is not Lagos. Presidents don’t talk first and think later. Those are three pieces of advice President Bola Tinubu should bear in mind whenever making announcements. Nigeria has recorded another first in national history.

Tinubu has become the first Commander-In- Chief, who declared war – without the troops to carry out his instructions. The ‘Emperor of ECOWAS’ has been disrobed by his own Senate and many other Nigerians. That is what you get when you take decisions before thinking of the consequences.

Certainly, he has achieved some of what he set out to do. Officially, Nigerian-Niger borders have been closed. In reality, only the big trucks, trailers and tankers have been caught temporarily stranded. The border with Niger is the most porous in Nigeria – with more than 100 illegal entry points. In fact, life in most border communities will come to a halt if very effective border closing occurs.

So, to some extent, the order to close the border is an exercise in futility. People living in the communities nearest Niger will not cooperate with the Federal Government.

There are too many Nigerians whose means of livelihood depend on Niger more than Nigeria. This is only one of several issues that should have been considered before hastily making the very important decisions.

Mistake Cutting Power Supply To Niger

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…” But, total ignorance is fatal if a statesman is making a vital decision. The decision to cut off power supply to Niger might appear to him as the sort of tough action expected of the leader of the nations opposed to Niger’s junta. But, it might turn out to be the biggest blunder a Nigerian President ever committed.

The repercussions are so frightening as to make one shudder and pray that Niger does not react as it might be forced to.

Nigeria’s electricity supply to Niger was based on bi-lateral agreement between the two countries during the Gowon administration – when the Kainji Dam was to be built on River Niger which passes through Niger before entering Nigeria.

It is a fact that if Niger builds a dam on the Niger, then Kainji Dam would be virtually useless.

Everything — hydro-electric power generation, irrigation for agriculture, fisheries and potable water etc — depending on river water along the path of the Niger would be negatively affected.

Nigeria agreed to provide Niger with power in order to prevent our northern neighbour from damming the Niger before it enters our country. Without that delicate agreement in place Nigeria will be a far worse place for all of us to live in.

Unfortunately, that bi-lateral agreement has been unilaterally repudiated by Tinubu without going through all the processes stipulated in that vital agreement.

Niger will suffer immediately and in the short term. But, Nigeria stands to lose more in the long term – if Niger now embarks on building its own dam to generate its own power. “Once bitten; twice shy”. That is an old adage. Tinubu has woken up a lot of demons with one decision whose ramifications he least understood.


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