My Take on Gambia’s Intervention —By Princewill Odidi

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Princewill Odidi|19 January 2017 On Gambia, I support the actions of ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations calling on President Jammeh of Gambia to peacefully hand over to President-elect Barrow or according to Ecowas be removed with the use of force. This is President Buhari's first foreign policy intervention in Africa. So the world is watching. The question today is not whether President Buhari has the moral authority to intervene in Gambia, rather the question should be does Nigeria as the leader of ECOWAS and the largest military and economy in Africa have the moral and political obligation to intervene when a people within the sub region are repressed, fundamental rights including right to elect their representatives is grossly abused and highjacked by a Cabal? The answer is yes. Buhari is not the one intervening it is the Nigerian State and leader of Ecowas that is intervening. One of the responsibilities of any independent state is to protect the fundamental rights of its people including the right to life, liberty and property. However fundamental rights in recent years has been extended to include rights to vote and be voted for. Jammeh biggest mistake was congratulating the President-elect and later changing his mind. If he had used his presidential powers to rig the elections, no one would have intervened today, we will all call it internal affairs of Gambia. But when he congratulated the winner, openly acknowledging that the Gambian people have made their choice, and then proceeding to change his mind the next day, at that point he had crossed the line of internal affairs to international affairs, at that point it is abuse of fundamental rights of the people including the rights to vote and be voted for, at that time it's no more a violation of Gambia's internal affairs but the upholding of the Gambian people fundamental rights as reflected in the United Nations human rights charter. At this point both the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS, if they have the capacity, can intervene either by peaceful means to restore law and order or intervene militarily to prevent a possible war and genocide through a carefully orchestrated intervention. Does Buhari as a leader who had used force to overthrow a sovereign government in Nigeria have the moral right to intervene in Gambia? I have reservations to that. But does Nigeria as the leader of ECOWAS have the moral, legislative, political will to prevent a possible civil war and genocide in a neighboring West African State? I would say yes. The Nigerian state and ECOWAS has every right to uphold Gambians right to vote and institute democracy which even Jammeh himself had acknowledged and congratulated. This is my independent unbiased opinion on the matter. Princewill Odidi
Writes from Atlanta