Nigerian ex-lawmaker and member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Shehu Sani, took to his X page on Monday to criticize what he called “56 years of family democracy” in Togo, pointing out the uninterrupted rule of the Gnassingbé family since 1967.
Sani’s remarks have ignited a debate about democracy in Togo and the effectiveness of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in addressing such issues.
In his direct statement on Twitter, Senator Shehu Sani said, “In Togo, Father ruled from 1967 to 2005 and Son is ruling from 2005 to date; that is 56 years of family Democracy. AU is sleeping and ECOWAS is snoring.”
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The statement has since gone viral, with social media users, political analysts, and human rights activists weighing in on the matter.
Togo, a West African nation, has been under the rule of the Gnassingbé family for over five decades. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the father, seized power in a coup in 1967 and remained in office until he died in 2005. He was succeeded by his son, Faure Gnassingbé, who has been in power since and is currently serving his fourth term as president.
Critics argue that this dynastic rule has stifled political pluralism and democratic progress in Togo, as the country has not experienced a change in leadership for over half a century. They claim that such prolonged family rule undermines the principles of democracy and hinders the political and economic development of the nation.
Senator Shehu Sani’s remarks also raised questions about the role of regional and continental organizations in addressing democratic deficits on the African continent.
The AU and ECOWAS are regional bodies tasked with promoting democracy, peace, and stability in Africa. However, Sani’s comment implies that these organizations have been ineffective in addressing the situation in Togo.
AU and ECOWAS have previously expressed concerns about political developments in Togo but have been unable to bring about significant change. Critics argue that the lack of concrete action undermines the credibility and effectiveness of these organizations in upholding democratic values.