Chief Olabode George, a former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asserted that there is sufficient room for President Bola Tinubu and the ECOWAS to hold talks with the coup leaders in Niger.
George stated this during his appearance on Arise Television on Tuesday.
He said, “When they meet tomorrow, I am advising that there’s enough room for dialogue, and the underlining crisis that is engaging all these francophone countries today dates back to the French approach to their system of colonialism.
“While the British had colonies, the French had the principle of assimilation. In other words, they didn’t let go. There’s no French country in the whole of Africa where the French government does not have a minimum of a battalion stationed there,” he added.
The former military General said, “You learn from your experiences. We were in ECOMOG, which was the country that was responsible militarily, financially, and personnel-wise for the armed forces. We did extremely well; what was the benefit to Nigeria?
“Before you consider going to war as a nation, you teach your boys the national interest of your country; anything that falls out of that is not a major concern to you, but if anybody infringes on your national interest, then you can go to war because you are going there to defend something so vital to your country.
“Learning from the ECOMOG experience, how can we now go to Niger? What is the benefit? My appeal is that the ECOWAS heads of state should be more careful. The Ukraine-Russia war today has lingered on for over a year; they are still fighting, and innocent people are dying. War is not a tea party, and it is better to jaw-jaw than war-war.
“I am talking from experience and the fact that Niger is not the only country in the whole geo-political belt of the francophone countries that have a military administration, from Guinea to Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan. That takes you from the west Atlantic to the Red Sea, right across the whole belt of Africa in the Sahara. Why Niger?” he said.
It would be recalled that George had warned President Tinubu to think twice before declaring war on the Niger Republic.
He wrote to the President, advising him to continue using the diplomatic channel rather than embarking on a “needless war.”
The PDP leader however cautioned that the Economic Community of West African States would disintegrate as a result of using a military strategy.
He said, “We should think twice before entering another country militarily. Don’t start what you cannot finish. Niger is one of the largest (land border) countries in the world and also one of the poorest.
“What exactly do we gain if we go to war in Niger? What? So that people can praise us as a defender of democracy? When people are dying at home, do we need that type of commendation from anybody?”