Tinubu, beware of Ouattara! By Emeka Obasi

Tinubu, beware of Ouattara! By Emeka Obasi
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Niger as a Strategic Battlefield: President Ouattara’s Calculated Moves

beware of Ouattara

In the complex realm of West African politics, the name Alassane Dramane Ouattara resonates with both power and intrigue. The recent developments involving Niger as a potential battleground have brought President Ouattara’s strategic maneuvering into the spotlight. This calculated move is seen by many as an attempt to divert attention from his contentious third term in Cote d’Ivoire while keeping war at bay in his own country, using the neighboring nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea.

The Bold Declaration and Its Implications

beware of Ouattara

President Ouattara’s announcement in Nigeria, wherein he declared ECOWAS leaders’ readiness to restore Mohamed Bazoum to power in Niger, was no mere rhetoric. “We are determined to restore President Bazoum to his functions,” affirmed the Ivorian leader. ECOWAS chairman, Bola Tinubu, found himself in a situation where he was yet to appoint a Foreign Minister when he convened his counterparts in Abuja. This vacuum was seemingly exploited by Ouattara to sway some of the fellow presidents with the proposition of his nation raising a battalion to support the proposed regional strike force.

Unraveling the Motives: Why the Absence of ECOMOG?

beware of Ouattara

A pertinent question arises: Why did Ouattara not invoke the ECOMOG intervention when military actions unfolded in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea – countries that share borders with Cote d’Ivoire? The answer, it appears, lies in Burkina Faso’s significance to Ouattara’s personal history. There exists a strong belief among Ivorians that his lineage traces back to Burkinabe roots. This connection gained prominence during the political turmoil that preceded the 2010 Ivorian presidential elections.

A History Steeped in Ambition

beware of Ouattara

Ouattara’s journey to the presidency was marked by ambition and political upheaval. His involvement in the economic rejuvenation of his nation led to deeper political aspirations. He ascended to the role of prime minister in 1990, where he began to challenge the incumbent president’s authority. Upon the death of the incumbent leader, the Ivorian constitution mandated a leadership transition that Ouattara actively resisted, leading to a protracted power struggle.

The Shifting Sands of Alliances

beware of Ouattara

Ouattara’s political alliances and enmities have been dynamic. The same leader who supported a coup against President Bedie vehemently opposes the leadership of Gen. Abdarahmane Tchiani in Niger Republic. Despite residing close to a former dictator in Abidjan, Ouattara refrains from interfering in Burkina Faso. However, his eagerness to engage with Niger Republic hints at a strategic agenda beyond the surface.

The Complex International Web

beware of Ouattara

President Ouattara’s connections extend internationally, suggesting a safety net for his calculated moves. His first wife was American, and his present wife has French and Algerian roots with Jewish ties. His academic and professional stints in the United States and his tenure at the International Monetary Fund add layers to his global profile.

A Cautionary Note: Nigeria’s Role and the ECOWAS Imperative

beware of Ouattara

While President Ouattara’s maneuvers may seem shrewd, caution is paramount. Nigeria, with its armed forces, should approach any potential engagement cautiously. Ouattara’s motivations might not align with regional stability, and his eagerness to engage in conflict could have wider implications. The past demonstrates his willingness to take calculated risks to achieve his objectives.

Looking Ahead: Guiding Principles

beware of Ouattara

As the situation unfolds, it’s essential for ECOWAS leaders to maintain a clear perspective. In this scenario, the appointment of Yusuf Tuggar as the incoming Foreign Affairs minister becomes pivotal. President Ouattara’s track record of calculated actions should not overshadow the interests of regional peace and stability.

In conclusion, the chessboard of West African politics is witnessing an intricate game of strategy, with President Ouattara positioning himself at the center. His move to turn Niger into a potential battleground serves his agenda, but regional leaders must carefully consider the implications. Nigeria’s role in this landscape is crucial, and a nuanced understanding of past actions and alliances is essential. President Ouattara’s bold moves may be calculated, but the true test lies in the region’s ability to navigate this complex terrain while upholding peace and stability.

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