Home News Nigeria’s Tinubu Re-elected As ECOWAS Chairman After Disastrous One-Year Tenure 
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Nigeria’s Tinubu Re-elected As ECOWAS Chairman After Disastrous One-Year Tenure 

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President Bola Tinubu has reportedly stepped down as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has been re-elected as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Tinubu initially became ECOWAS Chair in July 2023 when he took over from President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau. Since then, Tinubu has presided over what is widely recognised to have been the most disastrous one-year period in the regional bloc’s history, culminating with a declaration yesterday from the governments of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, permanently distancing themselves from ECOWAS.

In his one-year tenure as ECOWAS chair, Tinubu has overseen the withdrawal of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso from the 49-year union, in what has been an unprecedented mass exodus that has left the body severely weakened.

It will be recalled that following the July 26, 2023 coup in Niger, Tinubu made three attempts to stage a military intervention in Niger, including one that was foiled by the leaking of a top-secret memo, leading to a botched attempt to abduct West Africa Weekly Editor-in-Chief, David Hundeyin from Ghana.

The Nigerian president as the ECOWAS chair also imposed harsh sanctions on Niger, including a violation of the 1964 River Niger treaty by cutting off electricity supply. This reportedly led to the deaths of several premature infants in hospitals in Niamey.  

In retaliation, Niger on the February 6, 2024 banned all air travel originating from or terminating in Nigeria from overflying Niger.

 

Niger subsequently went into a defence cooperation agreement with Russia, effectively placing Nigeria in a precarious position as a potential future location for Franco-Russian proxy war, with French-aligned militaries perched on its eastern and western borders, and Russian-aligned troops on its northern border.

Despite his eventual unconditional removal of the ECOWAS sanctions he championed, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso formed a new regional bloc – the Alliance of Sahel States (AES). The treaty formalising this union was signed yesterday, further solidifying the rift between ECOWAS and the breakaway states.

Speaking at yesterday’s ceremony in Niamey, General Abdourahamane Tiani said, “Our people have irrevocably turned their back on ECOWAS.”

Read more: We Need to Learn from Kenya’s Recent Experience – Peter Obi

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