President Bola Tinubu has expressed concern over the rising cases of coups in African countries, calling for a comprehensive consensus against the spread of “contagious autocracy” across the continent.
The President said he was committed to working with other African leaders to defend democracy on the continent.
Tinubu stated this in his first response to the Wednesday morning coup in Gabon, just as the United States, United Nations, European Union, France and the Commonwealth voiced concerns over the political development in the Central African country.
The military takeover in Gabon is coming one month after a similar incident happened in Niger where Presidential Guards overthrew the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum.
A dozen soldiers had appeared on Gabonese national television, announcing the cancellation of election results said to have been won by incumbent Ondimba Ali Bongo and the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.”
The mutineers led by the head of the republican guards, Gen Brice Nguema , also closed the borders until further notice.
The announcement came after President Ali Bongo, 64, was re-elected for a third term, extending his family’s half-century rule over the oil-rich Central African country of 2.3 million, but the opposition described the poll as a ‘fraud orchestrated’ by the ruling party.
The Bongo family, one of Africa’s most powerful dynasties, has been in power since 1967.
Bongo is the son of late President Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for almost 42 years, from 1967 until his death in 2009.
However, speaking on the situation in Gabon, Tinubu said he was watching closely with deep concern the country’s social-political stability and at the seeming “contagious autocracy” apparently spreading across different regions of the continent.
A statement by the Presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, explained that Tinubu was of the unwavering belief that power belongs in the hands of Africa’s great people and not in the barrel of a loaded gun.
It read, “President Bola Tinubu is watching closely with deep concern for the country’s socio-political stability and at the seeming autocratic contention apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.