By Professor Bola Akinterinwa(Ex-DG NIIA)
A former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, in his Television interview on TVC station in Nigeria stated that the recent military takeover of power in Mali from the former democratically elected government led by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was not a coup(or coup d’état). Read his submission:
“Will Military Takeover in Mali guarantee rule of law and normalcy everywhere?
“To fathom what Yoruba proverb says, what is behind 6 is more than 7. Military intervention in Mali is not the classical one we are used to. ECOWAS’s leaders are talking about coup d’état. Left to me, it is not a coup d’état. It is far from it. How can you talk about coup de’tat. It is a situation whereby people have been asking what they want. We are not even addressing the fundamental rights of the people.
“Why is it that it is right of the goverment you want to look at?
“It is simply because of the implications for the totality of Africa in general. The sovereignty of the people must be given prominence. You see the military have not come to power to rule.
“The military didn’t arrest Keita because they want to rule. So, in this case it is not a normal military setting that we are looking at that we have in Mali. That is why the decision of ECOWAS is the most unfortunate.
“Mali is the regional headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the rest. If ECOWAS does not manage the situation in Mali carefully, and insists on sactioning Mali under military setting that will give an opportunity to the terrorists to spread from there to other West African countries.
“It is a coup that happened in Mali because the military took President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita into a custody and it was not until the next day that he announced his resignation.
“Etymologically, a coup is different from coup d’état. It is a French expression.
“This one is far from being a Coup d’tat even though people believe the moment you use a quantum of force to change the goverment is coup. And that is what ECOWAS government is trying to capitalize on. The truth of the matter is that situation in Mali is becoming chaotic to the extent now that the military was compelled to come in. Now they are rendering… It is a “bloodless” coup.
“So, you still do not believe it is a coup. But we understand that it is a military intervention, and it is said that, “the worst of democracy is better than the best of military”!
The latest development in Mali as at today because of the ways ECOWAS leaders are going about it is that whole people of Mali now say they are coming together to demonstrate and show that this is people’s revolution.
“Considering the current situation now, what is the way forward? How can ECOWAS be better integrated to ensure that member countries can provide people’s welfare and security over time?
“We must first begin to have a rethink about these protocols. It means a fundamental review. I share the view of Dr. Remi Ajibowa of ECOWAS who has been thinking along this line that we need to review that protocols. That is the starting point.
“The second point is to begin to lay emphasis on the thinking and interest of the people. We need horizontal integration. We need the integration of people of West Africa. It is not the integration of goverment-to-governmet. Why? For instance, Keita’s administration has been accused of corruption. Why are we not talking about that? Why do you now say you want to reinstate somebody who has been accused of that?
“West Africa as a region;please go to the Ivory Coast or go to Guinea. Something unlimited are increasing every day. So, government in West Africa must no longer take people’s interest at stake. Please note and I would be very brief about that. The moment people began to protest against government and you now use force to disperse them to stop peaceful protests. That is how it started.
“Professor Bola Akintorinwa, a former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs(NIIA) gave his view on the current crisis and removal of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from power in Mali “