Mali: Nigerian Senate Asks Military Junta To Restore Power

The Senate in Abuja on Tuesday asked the military junta in Mali to hand over power to President Amadou Toure, just as it congratulated President-elect Macky Sall of Senegal on his victory.

The Senate also called on ECOWAS, AU, the UN and other international bodies to impose sanctions on Mali should the junta fail to hand over power immediately.

Similarly, the Upper Legislative Chamber condemned the attempt to forcefully change the democratically-elected government of Toure, saying the development be treated as an insurrection rather than a coup.

The Senate took these decisions after debating a motion moved by the Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba, on the need to commend the happenings in Senegal and condemn the mutiny in Mali.

Leading the debate, the Senate Leader noted that Mali had before now been highly rated as an African example of a thriving democracy.

He expressed regrets that Mali, which had been under civilian rule in the last 32 years, was now plunged into serious political crisis which had serious implications for the country.

On the situation in Senegal, Ndoma- Egba noted that although the constitution had been amended to allow the incumbent run for a third term, the people still voted for a candidate of their choice.

He said it was commendable that the people of Senegal put aside religious and ethnic sentiments to vote in a president of their choice, adding that that was an example worth emulating by all African countries.

In his contribution, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), said what happened in Senegal was worth emulating by Nigeria.

Abaribe said that it was high time African leaders moved away from the tendency to hold tight to power and learn to relinquish power.

“Something significant has happened in Senegal. People who lose election often do not want to accept defeat but for him (Wade) to accept defeat, it is worth emulating.’’

Speaking on the happenings in Mali, Abaribe maintained that for the military to take over power because the government was not helping them to fight the invaders was condemnable.

Sen. Mohammed Sale (CPC-Kaduna), in his contribution, noted the importance of good leadership, stressing that it was imperative for leaders not to divide the citizens along ethnic or religious lines.

He said: ‘’What happened in Senegal is purely a question of leadership. For a country that is 95 per cent Moslem to vote in a Christian president that is from the five per cent minority is a big lesson for Nigeria.’’

Sale, however, cautioned against engaging the Nigerian military in the Malian situation, pointing out that the Nigerian military was already over-stretched in peace keeping missions abroad.

Senate President David Mark, before putting the motion to vote, stated that it was imperative for Nigeria to take the leadership position in the West African nation’s political imbroglio.

“ For the Mali situation, clearly, we do need to show leadership and it’s not just leadership by word but leadership by deed.

“We must put ECOWAS together and come out in strong terms to let the Malians know that we cannot just fold our hands and allow non-democrats to come to power.’’

Mark said it was re-assuring that the Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika had given the assurance that the Nigerian military would never stage a coup in the country again.

“ It is true that coup used to be infectious in those days but I think the assurance given by the Chief of Army Staff is the correct position of the Armed Forces.’’

Saying: “we do not accept that it’’ ( i.e. the coup in Mali), Mali said the Senate completely condemned the situation in that country.

Earlier, the Senate had sworn-in Sen. Andy Uba (PDP-Anambra), who won his re-election bid, having defeated Mr Chuma Nzeribe of APGA at the polls.


Leave a Reply