Today Headline: War With Niger; BAT Is Playing Reckless Macho Politics – Olu Fasan; Interview: Jonathan, Buhari Bastardised Nigeria – Frank Kokori

War with Niger? Tinubu is playing reckless macho politics, By Olu Fasan

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IT is a truism that a country’s foreign policy is the reflection of its domestic circumstances. A country that faces huge economic, political and security crises at home would be foolhardy to prosecute a war abroad. Furthermore, a robust foreign policy depends on domestic support. Thus, it’s utterly reckless and dangerous for a president to take his country into a foreign war without the endorsement of the legislature and understanding of critical domestic constituencies! Yet, that’s what Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s new and sophomoric president, seems intent on doing in response to the military coup in Niger Republic.

Since the coup in July, which removed President Mohammed Bazoum from power and installed General Abdourahamane Tchiani as head of state, Tinubu has talked tough, vowing that “all means will be used to restore constitutional order in Niger”. Under his leadership as chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, the organisation gave the junta a week’s ultimatum to reverse the coup. When that failed, ECOWAS ordered the “deployment” of a “standby force” to invade Niger. Now, it’s said to have agreed a “D-Day” for military action!

But anyone who thinks this is an ECOWAS affair is mistaken. Nigeria accounts for 60 per cent of ECOWAS population and 78 per cent of its GDP, while also providing the lion’s share of its budget and military capability. So, Nigeria is the linchpin of ECOWAS. If push comes to shove and ECOWAS goes to war with Niger, it’s Nigeria that will provide the largest number of the soldiers and the bulk of the funding, and it’s Nigeria that would suffer the most casualties and economic costs.

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Jonathan, Buhari bastardised Nigeria – Kokori

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Former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Frank Kokori has urged Nigerians to give President Bola Tinubu at least six months to see what he could do to revive the economy and make things right. According to him, Tinubu inherited an empty treasury and mounting debts from the previous administrations of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.

The labour activist took a swipe at the labour unions and the civil society organisations for keeping quiet for over 20 years while the nation’s refineries remained moribund. In this interview with DAILY POST, he speaks on some nagging national issues. Excerpts!

How can Nigeria collapse? Nigeria is a big country; it is just that we have been misruled for some time. The problem with Nigeria is that democracy has been there for 24 years, and out of all those years, we don’t have a refinery, and nobody was saying anything. The labour unions and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were all complacent. They weren’t saying anything; nobody was saying anything. And just because Tinubu came to power now and with the conspiracy of most of his opponents and adversaries, anything he does must be criticised.

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Coup: UK backs ECOWAS, calls for immediate release of Bazoum

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria

The United Kingdom (UK), yesterday, joined the United States of America (USA), France and Germany in condemning the detention of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military junta in Niger Republic, calling for his immediate release.

In a statement by Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, a senior communications officer at the British High Commission, UK said: “We stand with ECOWAS in condemnation of the illegal detention of President Bazoum, his family, and members of the government, as well as the unacceptable conditions under which they are being held, and call for their immediate release.”

Bazoum has been under house arrest since the takeover orchestrated by members of his presidential guard on July 26, 2023. According to the statement, UK recognises Nigeria’s diplomatic mediation efforts to peacefully restore democracy in Niger, through its leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and condemned the coup against Niger’s elected leadership.

This is just as the UK’s Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP, yesterday, met with Nigerian defence leaders and military chiefs to discuss the situation in Niger.

During his visit, Heappey met the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa; and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja. The UK defence chief also met with the Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru; and the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle.

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Heappey further met with the President of ECOWAS Commission, where he reiterated UK’s support for ECOWAS’ ongoing diplomatic efforts to ensure a peaceful return to democracy in Niger.

In South Africa, Shettima says Tinubu will change fortunes of Nigeria soon

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said there will be changes in the fortunes of Nigeria in the coming months under the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Shettima stated this on Wednesday when he spoke with journalists during his tour of exhibition stands at the BRICS Trade Fair in South Africa.

According to Shettima, President Tinubu is very passionate about empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for the development of the nation’s economy.

“It is a known fact that the empowerment of the MSMEs is key to empowering our youth and women towards contributing to the nation’s economic development,” Shettima said.

“The President is a very compassionate leader and in the coming months, there will be changes in the fortunes of Nigeria.”

Explaining the economic impact of the growth of MSMEs on the economy, he said it will have positive impacts which will help in supporting families and add value to the nation.

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