Tinubu Breaks Silence on Gabon Coup, Calls for Consensus Against Autocracy

President Bola Tinubu has finally spoken on the recent coup in Gabon, where the military ousted President Ali Bongo and placed him under house arrest. The Nigerian leader expressed his deep concern over the spread of “contagious autocracy” in Africa and called for a comprehensive consensus among African heads of state to defend democracy and the rule of law.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, on Wednesday, Tinubu said he was “watching closely with deep concern” the situation in Gabon and the “seeming autocratic contention apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.”

Tinubu, who is also the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said he was committed to working with other regional leaders to ensure that power belongs to the people and not to the gun. He said he believed that constitutional and electoral mechanisms must be respected and upheld at all times.

The president condemned the coup attempt by some senior army officers in Gabon, who announced on Wednesday morning that they had taken over the government, cancelled the elections, dissolved all state institutions and closed the country’s borders. The coup plotters claimed that they were acting in the interest of the nation, citing the poor health of Bongo, who had suffered a stroke in 2018 and had been out of public view for months.

Tinubu said he was aware of the challenges facing Gabon and other African countries, but urged the coup leaders to respect the will of the people and return power to the legitimate authorities. He also called on the international community to support the efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union to restore peace and stability in Gabon and other troubled spots on the continent.

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