Former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and a political commentator, Professor Usman Yusuf, has stated that President Bola Tinubu has displayed inexperience on the international stage by threatening to invade Niger at the beginning of negotiations
During an interview with ARISE NEWS, Yusuf pinpointed the disruptive influence of beginning negotiations with a “threat of violence.”
He criticized the haste in decision-making, characterizing it as ill-considered, particularly given the potential repercussions for those residing in the northern region, who would be directly affected by the conflict.
He went on to offer his advice to President Bola Tinubu, urging him to refrain from pursuing a course of action involving a war with Niger.
He said, “You have brought the last trump card at the very beginning, that’s no way to do it, and it’s showing the inexperience of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the international scene.”
He also stated that President Tinubu’s responsibility is to Nigerians and not the ECOWAS bloc.
Drawing from his experience from the northern region, Yusuf expressed the fatigue caused by prolonged conflicts, including the ongoing battle against Boko Haram since 2009, as well as the struggles against bandits and kidnappers for nearly a decade. He expressed apprehension over the prospect of embarking on another military endeavor.
He emphasized, “The primary responsibility of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to Nigeria and not to ECOWAS. He answers to us. He has not even addressed Nigerians and justified what he’s going to do, he has gone to the senate to ask for approval. That’s no way to declare war.
“We in the north, we are tired of wars. We’ve been at war for 14 years now with Boko-Haram since 2009 and 9 years with bandits and kidnappers, and you’re bringing a fresh war to us.
“We in Nigeria, 78% of the land mass of Nigeria, 7 states and 19 states in this country are saying no to an unprovoked war with Niger.”
The professor urged against being concerned about reputational setbacks should Nigeria and ECOWAS opt out of the conflict. He emphasized, “This is not about personal pride or appearances. It centers on Nigeria and the lives that would be impacted by the war.”
Yusuf discussed President Tinubu’s potential motivations, suggesting, “A significant issue at hand is the contested legitimacy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s election, which remains subject to legal proceedings.”
He advised caution to prevent becoming entangled in a proxy conflict involving Russia and NATO, stating, “The conflict in Niger is not a battle we should involve ourselves in.”
In conclusion, Yusuf highlighted President Tinubu’s lack of preparedness, both in terms of forming his administration and in failing to consult the populace, casting doubt on the decision to declare war.