In recent days, we have witnessed the unfolding events in Burkina Faso and the ensuing debate on the effectiveness or otherwise of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to curb such occurrences. I have had many calls to make my position on the people’s revolt and the subsequent statement by ECOWAS known. While I cannot pretend to be an authority or expert on regionalism especially as it pertains to West Africa, it would seem that my previous association with institutions related to regional blocs like ECOWAS might be the only reason for my intervention. Not being an expert, I have struggled with putting together my thoughts, being fully aware that it might not sit well with many who might know better. However, I am more than convinced that not speaking at all will be doing a greater disservice to mankind. After all, all we live for is to serve God and serve humanity. In putting this piece together, I want to acknowledge that ECOWAS is not without its own challenges. Like any other institution, it has had to grapple with challenges from within stemming from the renegade behaviour of some of its key actors, especially some Heads of State. But even more challenging has been the sometimes subtle attempts by some former colonial powers and present-day superpowers to influence the politics of not just the regional bloc but also its member states. My position on the events in Burkina Faso matter is very simple: I am in support of the people of Burkina Faso resisting every attempt by Campaore to retain power through what has become known loosely in political lexicon as “tenure elongation” but I do not support a coup d’état. Burkina Faso is indeed not the only West African country where this has happened. In Nigeria, where Obasanjo attempted such tricks, it was vehemently resisted not just by the people but by their representatives in the lower and upper houses of the legislature. Indeed, Senator Ken Nnamani, who was then the Senate President earned high marks for leading that resistance. His role was even more remarkable because as a ‘PDP-ite’ (as we fondly call members of the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria) he was supposed to conform. He didn’t. The Nigerian military never invited themselves into the fray. Obasanjo completed his tenure and left. In Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade tried to go along the same path. The people resisted violently. Wade was stopped and the military never invited themselves into the debate. Wade finished his term as mandated by law, got roundly defeated by Macky Sall and left office. What many do not realize is that the military, by inviting themselves into the fray, defeat the aim of the resistance- to register disapproval for any accession to power by unconstitutional means. When ECOWAS transitioned from an ‘ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples’ one of its cardinal pillars was the policy of zero tolerance for unconstitutional accession to power. So the statement issued by ECOWAS stating unequivocally that it will not support the nuanced military take-over in Burkina Faso is totally in tune with its own values. If the reason the good people of Burkina Faso marched unto the streets was to stop Campaore from manipulating the Burkinabe Constitution, then I am of the considered opinion that the statement by the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State cements the people’s position. I say in all humility that anyone berating ECOWAS for issuing the statement, calling it “too late” and “ill-timed” is perhaps not aware of how the structures of regional blocs like ECOWAS function. Those persons are perhaps, also ignorant of the mediation processes that were triggered by ECOWAS years ago with Campaore when the regional bloc foresaw what he was attempting to do. Indeed, the ECOWAS Early Warning System picked up these signals 2-3 years ago and Campaore was accordingly advised. We all know that he refused to heed the advice and went ahead with his plans. The result is the violent protests that occurred a few days ago. This is not the place to enumerate the litany of delegations that were sent to Blaise to admonish him not to attempt any gymnastics with the constitution. But for the sake of those who need some education, permit me to mention that ECOWAS leaders did impress upon Campaore to respect the term limits as captured in the Burkinabe Constitution but he did not accept the caution. The US, at the African Leaders Summit in Washington also raised the same matter with him but it fell on deaf ears. France was not left out. Indeed, President Hollands went as far as sending an open letter to Campaore in October 2014. This is, in addition to the several diplomatic interventions by ECOWAS involving people thought to be Campaore’s friends but all these did not work. To have anyone assert therefore that ECOWAS was sleeping on the job while Blaise was planning this is to say the least, unfair. Indeed, it is a sheer display of ignorance on the work of ECOWAS and its intervention on this matter. The thing about diplomatic interventions is that they are not necessarily public. Even though these interventions are not public, it does not mean they do not happen. Those who argue that ECOWAS could have done better have forgotten that Campaore’s colleague Heads of State could only advise and caution but could never compel compliance. On the recent statement of ECOWAS regarding this matter, anyone reading that statement with an open mind would understand the message. The statement of the Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS was simply saying that while ECOWAS supports the people in resisting any attempt to manipulate the constitution, ECOWAS will not condone a military take-over. How this statement could be ill-timed and out of place beats my unsophisticated mind. A brother wrote to me last night and without his consent though, I will share. He said “I ceased making clarification and educating ignoramuses on Facebook a long time ago. I realized that those whom we expect to know do not know. Unfortunately, they pretend that they know and display their ignorance by having an opinion on every matter. These days, I read the highly opinionated posts which lack substance and remember the wise saying that it is better to keep quiet so that the extent of one’s foolishness is not exposed”. I agree with him hook, line and sinker. The level of ignorance on the work of ECOWAS is painful. It’s painful because it is coming from some of the most respected and educated in our society. If we do not know, let us ask. Displaying ignorance on a subject matter is not necessarily bad if the culprit makes genuine efforts to unlearn the ignorance. But to persist in this ignorance even in the face of facts that negate one’s position is not only disingenuous but mischievous. Some have opined that the military stepped in because the exit of Campaore created a vacuum. Which vacuum? For the records, Campaore’s resignation could never have occasioned a power vacuum morally or legally! Article 43 of the Burkinabe constitution mandates the Speaker of the Senate to assume the reins of government, in the event of the President’s resignation, and elections must be called within 60-90 days. There is absolutely no plausible reason therefore for the military to fill the interregnum in Burkina Faso. It is disingenuous to speak against coups in other situations and sing a different tune when it suits us. As I write, there is confusion in Burkina Faso regarding the leadership of the country. This is not what the thousands of Burkinabe who marched towards the Presidential Palace bargained for. The voice of the people is not synonymous with the voice of guns. The guns in African politics must be silenced and kept where they belong so that the voices of the people will persist. This is the crux of my argument. This is the heart of the matter.