President Muhammadu Buhari recently said he wants Nigerian troops to return from Guinea Bissau, because it’s long overdue for the stakeholders in the troubled country to resolve their dispute diplomatically.
Meeting with President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel A. de Souza, Buhari used the opportunity to bring up the issue, he also added that he will be waiting for final report before making the final decision.
But it’s unlikely that Nigerian troops will leave Guinea Bissau, unless the troops are in danger or their presence no longer relevant, if not the troop will likely remain in the country.
Guinea Bissau problem is beyond political discord or power struggle, being the poorest country in the world, it has also become the main exchange port for South American drug smuggling. Since the 1990s the country of 1.7 million people has been in a conflict, and Nigeria is not the only country involve in solution searching, Guinea, Senegal, and France are also engaged in keeping the institutions afloat.
In 2014 a former finance minister, Jose Mario Vaz won the presidential election run-off, making him the first elected leader since the army mutinied in 2012.
Although President Vaz has not suffered a military coup yet, he has not achieved political stability either. A year after assuming the presidency, Mr Vaz sacked his prime minister and party colleague, Domingos Simoes Pereira, creating a political crisis that saw four different prime ministers in less than two years, amid a power struggle between Mr Vaz and his party, led by Mr Simoes Pereira.
So why would our president suggest troops withdrawal from the country?
President Buhari may be indirectly intimating the ECOWAS president that Nigeria is in need of money, given huge N8.6 trillion budget for 2018, increased borrowing and auctioning of state properties, Nigeria might not be able to add the burden of financing ECOWAS.
Mr. Souza did not visit Abuja and throw encomium on Nigeria for being the biggest donor to the organization, while citing Nigeria’s recent exit from recession just for frivolities, there is the underlying expectation for more contribution. The timing of Souza’s visit seems perfectly timed too, Nigeria recently emerged from recession and is putting final touches on the budget of 2018.
Unfortunately Nigeria is not isn’t buoyant enough to be giving aid, and if referencing the troops in Guinea Bissau would help convey that message then Buhari might as well reference it.