Ex-Military Governor, Umar Reveals Cause Of Coup In Africa

A former military governor of old Kaduna State, Abubakar Dangiwa Umar has revealed why Africa is experiencing the wave of coups.

According to Umar, the sit-tight syndrome of some African leaders is responsible for coups within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the African continent in general.

Umar who participated in the coup that ousted former President, Muhammadu Buhari as military Head of State in August 1985, disclosed this in an interview with Sunday Sun.

He noted that some of the Presidents ousted by coup leaders in their country have ruled for several years, which he stated can not be termed as a democratic government.

Speaking on the wave of coups in Africa, Umar who had been involved in a military coup said, “Let me make this clarification. I did not participate in any coup against any elected government. My role in the coup that ousted General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in August 1985, is well documented. That, as you said, led to my appointment as military governor of Kaduna State.

“But let me quote Sir Winston Churchill again. He said, “Democracy is the worst system of government except all the others.” I believe Churchill was not referring to the democratic system being practiced in many African countries which keeps their leaders in power for life even when they become physically and mentally incapacitated. We cannot support a change of government through military coups, but how else do you change those regimes headed by leaders for life? Paul Biya of Cameroon has been in power for 41 years and counting.

“Museveni of Uganda, 37 years. Eyadema and his father have been the only rulers of Togo since 1967. Also, Ali Bongo and his father, Omar, since 1967. They are too numerous to count.

“The fact that they are civilians and are able to conduct sham elections does not make their systems democratic. The international community, including the AU, ECOWAS and other regional organisations must not recognise such regimes headed by sit-tight leaders as legitimate and democratic.

“They should equally be ostracised like military regimes. The test of genuine democracy is not only in free and fair periodic elections but also good governance such as preservation of life and property of people, guarantee of individual freedoms, observance and adherence to the rule of law and such other democratic dividends, particularly the intangibles.

“But I am sure you want me to comment on the ongoing crisis between ECOWAS and the coup leaders in Niger. I can understand why many Nigerians are not in support of the role the Nigerian government is playing in the crisis.”

Speaking on the coup in Niger Republic, Umar advise President Bola Tinubu who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to stop sending respected elders to meet with the coup leaders.

He claimed that the respected leaders sent to Niger can not achieve the desire of ECOWAS, adding that this can lead to loss of face both for the delegates and Nigeria.

Umar further stated, “Well, President Tinubu is playing his role as the current Chairman of ECOWAS. He has to represent the views of ECOWAS which opposes the coup in Niger and threatens to use all options, including the use of military force to return power to the elected President of Niger, Mr Bazoum. Now, whether these threats are enough to prevail on the Niger Republic junta to return power to Bazoum is not easy to see. As Ambassador Alhaji Aminu Wali correctly observed, the coupists have their necks in a noose.

“The question is, are they willing to commit suicide by handing over the rope to President Bazoum to hang them? Doubtful! I honestly believe that President Tinubu should not be sending respected elders to go and convince the coup leaders in Niger to return power to Bazoum.

“They cannot achieve the mission and this can lead to loss of face both for the delegates and Nigeria. The Ulamas should stay in Nigeria and offer prayers under the Group Managing Director, NNPCL who was surprisingly part of their delegation.

“Having made these points, I need to observe as follows: The coup in Niger is totally unnecessary. Bazoum has only been in office for about two years. From credible information, he was doing well. I personally know Bazoum as a very progressive and relatively honest person. The leader of the Niger coup, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, was motivated by a selfish desire to remain within the precincts of power.

“He has been the Commander of Presidential Guards for about 10 years. Bazoum was prevailed on to replace him. The General simply pre-empted Bazoum’s move to post him out. General Tchiani’s regime was established by the ECOWAS threats and the apparent discrimination since other military regimes in the region have not been treated so harshly.

“The regime has also found cover in its diversionary war against French neo-colonialism. How can General Tchiani distance himself from past governments, particularly that of Mahamadou Issoufou, his immediate past boss who cooperated with the French? I assure you General Tchiani wouldn’t have lasted one year in power were it not for the ECOWAS’ intervention and the fight against the French.

“The other point is that as far as Nigeria is concerned, ECOWAS has ceased to exist since we shut our borders against members eight years ago. The major aim of creating ECOWAS in 1975 was for the purpose of socio-economic integration of the sub-region.

“How can this be achieved when Nigeria has closed its borders against all ECOWAS member states? Again, six out of 15 states are under military regimes, while two others, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire are under civilian dictators who fall into the category of sit-tight leaders.

“President Tinubu should also be aware that Nigeria has been totally absent on the international stage in the past eight years.

“We have lost our past leadership role in Africa. That’s why the Niger Republic does not reckon with our threats. It is supported in this defiance by other smaller states in the region. We must reclaim our leadership role, reassert ourselves in the whole of Africa and beyond.”

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