Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate has warned the Economic Community of West African States against military intervention in Niger Republic.
In a statement on Sunday, Obi said that diplomacy still remains the best option.
His warning comes after leadership of the block threatened to intervene militarily in Niger following a coup which removed the country’s president.
According to him, “Recent developments in neighbouring Niger Republic have become the subject of international attention.
“For Nigeria, this development is a matter of dire and urgent national interest and security.
“Inevitably, Niger is a hot button issue for ECOWAS, as well as various international interlocutors.
“Regardless of the positions taken by various parties that have direct or tangential interests in Niger, primacy must be given to dialogue and diplomacy towards a resolution with minimal disruptive impact on Nigeria and the West African sub region. A total diplomatic resolution must take into consideration the reapolitik of the West African subregion.
“I applaud the respective mediatory efforts by Gen. Abudusalami Abubakar, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoko and His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
“Whereas ECOWAS authorities have indicated that they remain open to various conflict resolution options, it is imperative that diplomacy should remain the overarching imperative in resolving the present crisis.
“I join the many well-meaning Nigerians who have advocated that any intervention in the crisis, should be pre-eminently through diplomatic dialogue among all strategic interests in the crisis.
“It is, therefore, imperative that the people of Niger are allowed via their national institutions, the opportunity to revert quickly to a representative democratic government.
“All national, regional and international assistance should be extended to the people of Niger to return their country to normalcy.
“While ECOWAS must seek to discourage the spread of military dictatorships in West Africa, the recourse to armed deterrence must be retrained by multilateral diplomatic mechanisms.
“What the situation in Niger urgently calls for is a concerted multilateral coalition of Nigeria, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN towards a programmed return to a democratic constitutional order. In this process, Nigeria’s leadership role must not be in any doubt”