In the context of good neighbourly relations between states that share common borders like Nigeria and Benin, it is normal that exchanges and visits at high level take place regularly. This is also a good sign of the excellence of secular, historical, cultural, social and economic relations forged by the peoples of Nigeria and Benin as well as their leaders, during their common history.
I would have liked to believe that the brief visit in Benin Friday, March 18, 2011, by the Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan was part of that framework, but for his astonishing statement that strongly stroke the national opinion and the political class. I quote:
"I congratulate the people of Benin for the presidential election held without violence and would like to invite candidates and voters to accept the election results, and avoid violence and war. Nigeria will not accept violence or war at its doorstep. "
In this very sensitive period where the people of Benin is facing enormous difficulties before, during and after the presidential election on March 13, 2011, this injunction to politicians and voters and, as a hole, to the people of Benin, is unacceptable.
Benin is admittedly a small country, but it is a great nation, proud of its history and its independence.
If the Head of State of Nigeria during his visit on March 18, 2011 had sought to hear the different actors of the Beninese political scene, starting with the former Heads of State and to provide advice to each other in order to avoid a looming crisis, his mission would have been highly appreciated by all the people of Benin. He would not only have acted as a friend and neighbour, but would certainly have accomplished a useful and preventive work, especially in his capacity as a regional leader and current Chairman of ECOWAS.
It is unfortunate that this injunction was made in the presence of the Head of State of Benin guarantor of its dignity and integrity. The Republic of Benin is a member of ECOWAS, the AU, as well as the UN and other international organizations.
As a former Chairman of ECOWAS who while in office, contributed to the settlement of the fratricidal war in Liberia, I would have hoped that His Excellency Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had not had to take sides in the current political situation in Benin .
It is as though, not content to use the influence conferred upon them by the demographic and economic weight of their countries, the French President, British Prime Minister or the Chancellor of Germany, intervened in the internal life of The Holland, The Kingdom of Belgium and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Can one ever imagine in the United States of America, the Government of New York state summoning the state of Massachusetts or the Connecticut ; or the state of California summoning any of the states of Nevada, Arizona ; or the state of Texas summoning those of Louisiana or Arkansas. ?
The European Union and the American Federation would not survive.
Our dream is that as soon as possible, ECOWAS become a federation such as Brazil that it surpasses in terms of population, and assume a major role in the political, economic, international fields.
Mr. Dieudonné Nicephorus SOGLO
Former President of the Republic of Benin,
Former Chairman of ECOWAS
Vice-President of the African Forum
former Heads of State and Government
Copyright, Blaise APLOGAN, 2010,© Bienvenu sur Babilown
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