Togo Risks Being Plunged Into A Civil War
• As Citizens Battle To Dethrone Eyadema Family’s Stronghold • Abuja, France Should Step In
transparent, free and fair. There is this contradiction in France foreign policy to its colonies. On one hand, French leadership supports multi-party system and rule of law, but on the ground in the colonies, those principles are not implemented. And because the late Eyadema had friends across different political formations in France, he was able to get away with it, which is why they are in this crisis now. Is the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) not a contributor to the crisis, as one would have expected that they would step in to ensure compliance with the 2016 constitution review and getting the Assembly’s backing?
Of all ECOWAS countries, Nigeria is the most influential. It has the biggest economy; biggest military force and you see what Nigeria did in The Gambia. But Nigeria has never done that for Togo. Ghana wanted to, but it does not have the political and military clout to deal with Togolese succession crisis. Nigeria has always been silent. The little Nigeria did was to say that election must hold, when Obasanjo was in office. It did not go far to say that a constitution must be in place for a two-term maximum. If that had been done, the issue would not have happened.
In the geo-political configuration of ECOWAS, members will only go the way Nigeria goes and this has been demonstrated. Nigeria is the highest financial con- tributor and ECOWAS headquarters is in Nigeria. It is only when Nigeria moves that others follow and that is what happened with The Gambia. Senegal could not do anything.
Are you saying some forces within Nigeria are contributing to the crisis in Togo?
Yes, I will say so. This is because unlike in The Gambia’s case, when we said no, we didn’t want this, no action is being taken on Togo. We intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leone, when their internal crises was about to spill over, but when it comes to Togo, there are some internal forces in Nigeria that are friendly and in support of Eyadema’s regime.
And what do you think is the interest? There is a very powerful Togolese political lobby in the Nigerian political landscape. And do not forget that the late Eyadema was one of the founders of ECOWAS. He had been friends with Gowon and successive governments after Gowon. Maybe, his son does not have that influence, but the father had.
What is the future of Togolese political landscape? There was a time the father had issues just like the son is having now, but the former got away with it. Are we going to have a repeat?
When a crisis starts and it is not resolved fundamentally, it disappears temporarily, but reappears again. That is what is happening in Togo, and if care is not taken, that country will go into a civil war. It is time for ECOWAS to step in, to say look, let us do this: Faure Eyadema is at the end of his second term, so let us have a new constitution that says any president can stay in power for a period of five years and not renewable after a second term. If this is done now, they can now negotiate a settlement for Faure to contest again, but will not re-contest again after this last outing. This could be done as a middle of the road agreement and then the place will calm down. And it will be made clear that, if he contests and wins, he will not return again and this will break the Eyadema’s family stronghold on the country. If not, the crisis may become so bad that the country may implode. There is need to have a middle of the road agreement.
The sit-tight syndrome is the norm in Africa. Looking at Faure’s reformation posture, when he assumed power, don’t you think seeing previous leaders before retained power at all cost encouraged him to also want to stay put?
He deceived the international communities and Africa. He gave the impression that one of the things he wouldn’t do is behave like his father. But you only know