By Festus Fifen
The Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, says the regional bloc will continue to champion diplomacy and dialogue, as well as earnest discussions with all parties involved, to restore constitutional governance in the Republic of Niger.
President Tinubu spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger.
According to the President, “In reaffirming our relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that we prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of our approach.
“We must engage all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in earnest discussions to convince them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum.
“It is our duty to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger.” he said.
Underscoring the significance of the meeting, President Tinubu stressed the importance of a comprehensive evaluation of progress thus far.
”More specifically, as leaders of our respective nations, we must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.
”By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all,” he said.
A statement from President Tinubu’s special adviser on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale says Building upon commitments from the initial Extraordinary Summit held in Abuja ten days ago, President Tinubu recollected the ECOWAS leaders’ collective condemnation of the military coup that toppled Niger’s democratically elected government.
Highlighting the firm and coordinated efforts already undertaken, President Tinubu outlined ECOWAS’ deployment of mediation teams and Special Envoys to engage with key stakeholders within and beyond the region.
The Nigerian leader also pointed to the recent meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff, the meeting of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee and the ECOWAS Commission’s memorandum on current developments in Niger as crucial sources of insight to guide the decisions of the Heads of State and Government at the meeting.
“Today’s Summit provides a significant opportunity to meticulously review and assess the progress made since our last gathering. It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and identify any gaps or challenges that may have hindered progress.
“It is only through this comprehensive assessment that we can collectively chart a new sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger,” President Tinubu emphasized.
The ECOWAS Chairperson expressed confidence that the 2nd ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit would be a defining moment in the journey towards a stronger, more resilient, and integrated West Africa.
He, therefore, rallied fellow leaders to seize this opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of Africans by fostering a future characterized by peace, progress, and prosperity.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Presidents of Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Cote ‘d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo, while Liberia and the Gambia were represented by their Foreign Ministers.
Non-ECOWAS leaders, such as the Mauritanian and Burundian presidents, also attended.
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