Tinubu kicks against coup in Gabon, seeks AU consensus response


President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria and chairman of the Authority of the Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, has kicked against the coup in Gabon, adding that efforts are on for a coordinated response by African leaders.

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The Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this on Wednesday at an interactive session with State House journalists, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on the Gabonese coup.

He said President Tinubu was watching closely with deep concern for Gabon’s social political stability and at “the seeming autocratic contention apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.”

Ngelale noted that the President as a man who has made significant, personal sacrifices in his own life in the course of advancing and defending democracy is of the “unwavering belief that power belongs in the hands of Africa’s great people and not in the barrel of a loaded gun.”

“The President therefore, affirmed that the rule of law and a faithful recourse to the constitutional resolutions and instruments of electoral dispute resolution must not at any time be allowed to perish from our great continent.

“To this end, the President is working very closely and continues to communicate with other Heads of States in the African Union towards a comprehensive consensus on the next steps forwards with respect to how the power in Gabon will play out and how the continent will respond to contagious autocracy we have seen spread across our continent,” he said.

Gabon is now the sixth nation with a successful coup, after Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.

The Gabonese army under the aegis of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions had in the early hours of Wednesday, announced that they are taking over power from President Ali Bongo in the central African country.

This is coming after the Bongo dynasty had ruled the country for over 53 years from 1966 to 2023.

Ali Bongo’s father, Omar Bongo had ruled from 1966 to 2019, while his son, Ali Bongo took over and ruled the country up till Wednesday.

The soldiers had listed what they described as serious institutional, political, economic and social crises as factors responsible for the coup, which they believe is “necessary’ for the progress of the West African country.

The Army, which noted that their “Our beautiful country, Gabon, has always been a haven of peace, added however, that “the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis.

They revealed that the “general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled”, even as they closed the “borders until further notice”

The Army also announced the dissolution of all democratic institutions, including the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Gabonese Elections Centre.

“We reaffirm our commitment to respecting Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community.

“People of Gabon, we are finally on the road to happiness.

“May God and the spirits of our ancestors bless Gabon. Honour and loyalty to our homeland.”