Home Politics Scholars, other experts canvass urgent intervention over coup resurgence in W/Africa

Scholars, other experts canvass urgent intervention over coup resurgence in W/Africa

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Experts and scholars rose from a roundtable conference in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Tuesday in strong condemnation of the resurgence of coup d’etat in the West African sub region. They called for urgent and incisive actions and measures to check the disturbing contagion..

Led by the Vice Chancellor of Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, Prof. Adeniyi Olatunbosun, the multidisciplinary brain trust described the seizure of power by the military as illegal and unjustified, while acknowledging the shortcomings of democratic government.

At the maiden edition of the university’s Academic Discourse on “Contemporary Issues in West African Sub-region Military Coup D’etat and Democratic Fragility”, they noted that, the phenomenon, which used to be a feature of the 60s and 70s, only upset the constitutional order with adverse effects on governance, legal and institutional structures, diplomatic relations, social, political and economic well being of the sub-region.

The mult-disciplinary discourse was to commemorate the 91st birthday anniversary of the university’s Founder/Chancellor, Bashorun Kola Daisi, who comes up on Thursday.

In the last three years, there have been at least five military take-overs along the Francophone corridor of West Africa in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger with Gabon in Central Africa recording the latest plague afflicting the continent.

Over the years, democracy and democratic rule in some countries have brought about more pain than gain, as well as poverty more than prosperity; an excuse the soldiers used to justify their interventions.

Discussants at the forum held at the university’s auditorium included Prof. Jendele Hungbo of the Mass Communication Department; Dr. Ekundayo Babatunde of the Law Faculty; Dean of Basic Medical Services, Prof Ariinola; Prof. Odiaka of Applied Sciences; Dr. Archibong Okonneh of History and Diplomatic Studies;

Others included: Prof Samuel Faboyede of Accounting Department; Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Dr. Adebukola Ayoola; and Dr. Oyetade Toyese of the Economics Department.

They noted that, although coups indicated failed democracy, the military has no legitimate right to topple democratic order and throw the nation into tailspin, as its duty is to strictly protect the national territorial integrity. Military intervention, they said, is a distraction, which can undermine the discharge of this onerous role.

They identified sit-tight leaders, official corruption, absence of good governance governance, transparency, participation, security challenges, official corruption, servitude to former colonial masters for exploitation of national resources as key dysfunctions that encourage military coup.

The consequences of coups is instability which affects economic growth and other sectors triggering a cycle of unemployment, poverty and underdeveloped, they reasoned.

They participants also suggested that Africans should fashion their own political systems that work for the continent and discard the Western model of democracy they described as colonial legacies, noting that before colonialism Africans governed themselves effectively.

Other solutions proposed included the strengthening of institutions, including the Independent National Electoral Commission; and the media for effective, transparent and credible discharge of their constitutional mandates; assurance of good governance as a sacrosanct tenet by public officials; reduction of worrisome cost of governance to free up enough resources to provide for critical sectors that could alleviate conditions of living of the people.

The intellectual think-tank also recommend legal reforms to take care of the lacuna exploited by the seditious-minded, given that constitutional provisions and other statues making coup unlawful were often observed in the breach. Similar legal means should be used to remove bottlenecks which make moves by regional bodies or the international community intervene and restore democratic order in any affected member-states.

According to them, it was difficult to enforce sanctions on erring member-states without being seen as violating international laws such due to the principle of the sanctity of the sovereignty of nations.

In his keynote remarks, Olatunbosun said the issues required critical analysis to bail the sub-region from being turned into a theatre of war of self interest seeking advanced nations whose motive was to merely dominate and exploit African countries and their resources.

Hungbo remarked that Africa was susceptible to incessant coups because of weak institutions of states ncluding the media. He observed that radio stations were often the first to be taken over for dawn broadcast by mutineers.

Yet, the media have not fared any better under both military and civilian rule in performance of the constitutional responsibility, he said, stressing that media institutions must be accountable, promote and enhance democratic governance to enable it work.

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