PRESS STATEMENT – No to Military Coup

On Thursday, February 18, 2010, a junta seized power in neighbouring Niger Republic, suspending the constitution and dissolving all state institutions. In light of what happened in Mauritania in 2008 and Guinea two months ago, it appears the West African sub-region is slowly regressing to the era of the 60s, 80s and 90s, notorious for unproductive coups and counter coups., an organisation committed to the rule of law, credible elections, and democracy, unequivocally condemns the coup in Niger Republic. We are appalled by the military coup which is a negation of the AU’s vision of a continent free from unconstitutional changes of government. We call for an immediate restoration of democratic governance in Niger Republic.

We have called this protest march against the military coup in Niger Republic to reaffirm the commitment of the Nigerian people to the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria and the West African sub-region as a whole. Nigerians will resist any attempt to truncate the democratic experiment in Nigeria or any part of the sub-region.

It may be convenient to advocate military take over each time civilian governments undermine the constitution, but what happens when the military takes over, as is often the case, is unmitigated corruption, violation of the same constitution, and denial of citizens’ basic human rights.

Our position is that the worst democracy is better than the best of military dictatorship. The record of military rule, not only in Nigeria, but across the continent of Africa, is not one that merits praise. Military regimes in Africa have only succeeded in exacerbating the continent’s problems. More often than not, it is the actions of military regimes that set the stage for the eventual collapse of the economy and democratic governments. 

When military regimes are not transmuting into civilian governments, they organise elections that lack credibility to enthrone their cronies. In all, they destroy the very institutions that sustain democratic governance.  Civil society today in much of Africa is unable to question their “elected” representatives and demand accountability because of many years of emasculation under military rule.


We must stop making comparison between democracy and military rule. The alternative to democracy is not military rule. The actions of many civilian governments in Africa leave much to be desired. We deplore the despicable actions of deposed Nigerien president, Mamadou Tandja,

One military coup in West Africa begets another. There is a chain-link between the coups in Mauritania, Guinea, and Niger Republic, the suspension of the parliament in Ivory Coast and the political logjam in Nigeria. condemns all these undemocratic acts in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger Republic and Ivory Coast and warns against any military adventurism in Nigeria.  

Democracy is about people’s power and choice. Rather than looking up to the military as a way out, we must mobilize and confront head-on each crisis that tests the entrenchment of democracy. We believe that if Nigeriens, Mauritanians, Guineans, Ivoirians, and Nigerians are steadfast in their defense of democracy, their countries can and will successfully resolve any political or constitutional crisis.

We urge civil society in Africa to join us and build a No to Military Regime Coalition of grassroots based organisations that will defend constitutionalism and oppose any form of military regime and dictatorship. 

We express our solidarity with the peoples of Mauritania, Guinea, Niger Republic, Ivory Coast and most importantly Nigeria who do not want a re-enactment of the sad experience of military in their body politic of the 60s, 80s and 90s which brought nothing but pain, bloodshed, corruption, and impoverishment.


Thank you.


For Coalition Against Military Coup

       Chido Onumah                            Murtala Usman       National Decision For Democracy


25, February, 2010.