Osinbajo, Obasanjo, Jonathan condemn coups in Africa

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as well as former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan have spoken against coups in Africa.

The development, they said, was a main threat to democracy in the continent.

They spoke on Monday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) within Abeokuta, capital of Ogun.

Governor Dapo Abiodun also joined in the meeting after he welcomed Vice President Osinbajo when his chopper touched ground within the OOPL premises.

Osinbajo was in Abeokuta to declare open a programme tagged,: ‘West Africa: Rising to the challenge of Consolidating Democratic Governance,’ a programme being put together by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).

Obasanjo is the chairman, Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).

Other dignitaries in attendance at the opening of a CoDA High-level dialogue were former President of Serria Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma; a member of the CoDA Board of Trustees, Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily, former Vice President of Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajanb among others.

Osinbajo and Obasanjo declared West Africa and indeed Africa are going through a perilous time due to political instability in parts of the continent.

The Vice President lamented military incursion in democratic government of some African countries, describing it as a period of peril.

He called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and other African organisations to wake up to the challenge and put measures in place to ensure political and economic stability of the West Africa and Africa at large.

Osinbajo said: “This is a moment of peril for democracy in our region because we are navigating a perfect storm of adverse circumstances, a world economy that is reeling from recessional shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, price and supply discruption from the war in Ukraine, the emergency of armed non state actors, poor challenges associated with catering for the youngest populations in the world.

“We must not allow our continent to become as it was in the cold war era. A fetter or proxy wars and great power conflict, we know from experience that this would result a deepening or the recession of democratic values in Africa.

“The militarisation of civil society whether by local military regimes or rival foreign military industrial complexes can only set us back by several decades.

“The recent spate of military coups across our continent and attempts at military coups not only portends the risk of a damaging democratic recession, but it also takes us back to the circles of extra constitutional disruptions that plagued us decades ago.

“Since 2017, there has been 12 military coups in Africa and half of them occurred since 2020. Two months ago, the democratically elected government of Burkina Faso was overthrown while only in February there was an attempted coup in Genuine Bissau which was thankfully repealed.

“This much is clear, we know that we cannot secure the Africa that we want by turning back the hands of the democratic clock.

“We have walked this thorny roads before, we many decades worth of bitter experience and impeachable lesson of our history, a clear lessons of our history is that despotisms cannot guarantee the security and prosperity of our people.

“No matter how dire our circumstances may be, we now have concrete proof that resort to extra constitutional regimes is not the way forward,” he said.

Obasanjo condemned military ousting of a democratically elected governments in some African nations, saying democracy in West Africa and indeed Africa called for urgent attention.

The former President identified coup d’etat, election fraud and political violence and instability as factors that have stymied the growth and development of Africa.

Obasanjo warned power grabbing and governance through the barrel of the gun will neither help Africa nor procure democracy through judiciary.

He explained the continent needs “a peaceful democracy that has respect for the will of the people and the future of our nations,” stressing that the only way African continent can develop is through peaceful democratic transition of governments.

He said: “In recent years, we have witnessed a return of coup d’etat, election fraud and political violence resulting in instability and threatening the developmental gains we have made in the last couple of decades.

“I feel very sad and it gives me great concern when I see the democratic system we have painfully built collapsing. And I believe there must be a solution because the problem is human and all human problems can be solved by human beings. That is why the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) under my Chairmanship and the OOPL have brought all of us together today to discuss pertinent issues affecting governance in West Africa, including the challenges and then to seek the way forward.

“Achieving this may not be easy but it is a must if we want our nation to make progress, it must entail responsible management of diversity which makes everyone feel a sense of belonging and be a significant part of the whole.

“Peaceful coexistence has been a hallmark of Africans even before the emergence of colonial era and we cannot accept anything less in this modern age.

“We need stable environment to grow our economies and ensure that countries develop in a sustainable way. Such all inclusive democratic environment will fast track developing our economy and will strengthen our security and promote general progress.”



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