Nigerian president heads to Senegal Amidst Election Crisis, ECOWAS Role Scrutinized

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), arrived in Dakar today for a one-day visit amid a deepening constitutional crisis in Senegal. The West African nation has been embroiled in turmoil since President Macky Sall’s postponement of the February 25th presidential election.

Sall’s decision sparked widespread protests, particularly among youth, and raised concerns about Senegal’s long-held reputation for stability and democracy. ECOWAS has urged Senegal to adhere to its electoral calendar, but its influence over increasingly defiant member states is being questioned.

Tinubu’s visit follows emergency talks among ECOWAS foreign ministers in Abuja, Nigeria, last week. Notably absent were representatives from the three junta-led nations – Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali – who recently withdrew from the bloc. Guinea, also suspended due to a coup, was absent as well.

The recent unrest casts a shadow on ECOWAS’s effectiveness, particularly after its failed warning of potential military intervention in Niger last year. Opposition leaders in Senegal denounce the election postponement as a “constitutional coup” and criticize the crackdown on protesters.

Sall justifies the delay by citing a dispute over disqualified candidates between parliament and the Constitutional Council. He vows to launch a “reconciliation” process and reiterates his commitment not to seek a third term. However, parliament voted to extend his mandate until his successor takes office, potentially pushing elections to early 2025.

Tinubu’s meeting with Sall and the broader regional turmoil will likely raise questions about ECOWAS’s ability to promote stability and democratic norms in West Africa.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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