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There have been many perspectives on the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, how best can it be resolved?
The conflict has become a war between Russia and Ukraine, the question now is how do we manage the situation, as a country, Nigeria, our first interest is citizens of Nigeria that are residents in Ukraine, we must find a way of securing their lives, relocating them and government must be proactive in that direction. The second aspect is management of the conflict itself, Russia on one side and Ukraine on other side, but that is not the issue, but those of the power who have an interest in the conflict, those that are there supporting Ukraine and those in support of Russia, all of them have their interest and in Nigeria, we have had a situation like this in 1967 and 1970, when some part of our country wanted to secede and we went to war, to keep Nigeria one. Of course, some countries supported the other side while some supported Nigeria. It’s a similar situation now. Ukraine was part of the former USSR before they gained independent.
The conflict between the mother country and the part that has gotten independent and the world have to find a way of managing the situation so that there will be peace and it’s the duty of everyone, all countries. Because people are losing their lives. Major countries of the world are taking a position, the Western world, NATO and the rest of them, possibly because of their past and present relationship with Russia as a world power, all these countries, Russia, the USA, China are world power, NATO is a world power, a group of countries in Europe and rest of them that formed treaty, but it’s time for everybody to sit down and reflect, where will this lead us to? Are we going into a third world war? The dropping of the atomic bomb here and there with huge consequences or do we need to pull back, sit down and think of how to resolve it. Because the countries that are taking positions are all nuclear power, most of the countries in NATO are nuclear power, Russia is a nuclear power, all of them must come down, may God not permit them to press the nuclear button for each other.
In what way do you think Africa Union (AU) can intervene in bringing peace?
African Union as a body, also has an interest in peace of the world, AU, as a body must also talk to concerned countries. We all have a interest in the peace of the world. Yes, AU, can take a position but, the position must be, how do we bring peace to the conflict already on the ground.
Are there signals that AU can really intervene, because nothing from their side since the beginning of this conflict?
Yes of course, as a body they can do, you talked behind the door, it’s not something you go out and be making noise in the open. It’s a matter of calling and communicating with concerned Presidents and countries.
You just mentioned that many of the NATO countries, and Russia too are nuclear power, what is your advice, so that the conflict will not lead to another world war?
I believe they don’t have a plan to cause trouble, it is a matter of support, positions are taking, it’s not as if they want to cause trouble, for instance, if I come to your house now and slap your brother, of course, you will support your brother against me, just normal diplomatic conflict. But, they must sit down think and reason together, so that we can bring peace to the conflicting parts.
sir, let talk politics, just of recent, Kwara PDP officially announced zoning of their 2023 governorship ticket to Northern senatorial district, as a Kwara Northerner, what can you say to this?
All parties are free to pick candidates from anywhere they want, all political party have their reason for acting the way they are acting. Some of them act in reaction to some others. But at the end of the day, the larger picture is that you go for election and the voters/electorates determine who win. As a member of All Progresive Congress (APC) we have a sitting Governor, in person of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, he is on his first term, and of course, everybody is entitle to two terms, isn’t it? So he might want to go for the second term, and definitely, we will support him as a party. Other parties can decide who they want to pick as candidates, maybe from North, or South. It’s voters that will take final decision on who they want, either they want us to remain or another party. They (PDP) think they have a strategy than us, in which I believe they don’t.
Your convention is fast approaching and the crisis in your party is still well pronounced, don’t you think that this crisis can cause doom for the party in the 2023 election?
Of course, It’s unfortunate, we fought for the last election as a brotherhood and came in as a family, but, immediately after, we started fighting each other, mind you! It’s normal in politics, you have people disagree with one another, again, we have to find a way of conflict management and we may have to look at our way of conflict management, we have a committee of elders, who are trying to look at the problems and how we can reconcile ourselves, but, there is no party that has ever gone into the election and won, that does not explode, it’s normal, but there should be a group of elders, who can say stop, let us sit down and reason together. Of course, some people have gone and not looking back again, while some are ready to sit and talk about their grievances and find solution. We hope the elders committee will be able to reconcile the reconcilable ones and we move on.
Going back to PDP zoning of its guber ticket to Kwara North, and as an APC member yourself, are you of opinion that Kwara North should wait for 2027 ?
You see, it’s a game of politics, of course, I have contested every election in the state, I have contested gubernatorial 1,2 and 3rd terms, was I not from Kwara North? Why don’t they vote for me to emerge? what did I do wrong that made electorates not to vote for me to win? But, did I pack and leave the state, No, I stayed and continued because I know that a day will come, it’s no necessary to be me from the zone to benefit, I know that a more younger person coming behind will become governor one day, based on the principle of equity, which will be brought to play at a given time.
Now, the party in government is different from the party that has always be in government in Kwara state, so we should allow this party in government and see how they manage the situation. It’s a completely new and different system in the state. It has not been like this before, it has always been one party that has been running the state before now, and they never thought it wise to give it to Kwara North, have they? 1979, and thereafter, that party never look side of Kwara North again, why didn’t we sought? I said, I contested and they did not give me.
Now, we have completely new system, this system has just come in, and said okay, you be Governor, it’s only fair to allow that system enjoy the two terms and after that, we will all sit down and decide where to move it to, and then we may say Kwara North has never had it in recent time, let us move to Kwara North, after that, we sit down again and say Kwara South, this is a completely new system. Instead of terminating it after just one term, let us allow the system to run it’s two terms. That is my own opinion. I never belong to the former system, I don’t know about their arrangement and they have produced Governors without thinking of Kwara North all that times, then, why are they shouting now? when we birthed another system and say let us start a new beginning.
Why do you think they are doing that now?
Of course, it’s political strategy, they are playing politics. It’s politics. We are saying that this is a new system and we are just establishing a fresh system, let us run, two courses and then move, and they are saying No, they are going to North. It’s politics, they are looking for voters, trying to find a way of displacing us, it’s normal. So, we should not quarrel with them, we should allow them to take it to the North, we will support our candidate, we want AbdulRahman to run second course.
Have you decided that ?
When we get to the convention, we will decide that, then, if AbdulRahman himself is interested in running, he will participate in the congress and the delegates will decide if we should return him or give it to another person. But, even the people who are saying Kwara North, Kwara North, they have not done that yet. But, we, we hold it a duty to allow the person in position to run a second term.
President Mohammadu Buhari, recently signed the electoral act, how do you think it will help our electoral process?
I have to study the content of the act thoroughly and see how it will help and how to apply it to actual politics.
Sir, you rightly mentioned that some elders of the party are consulting and making move to reconcile agrieeved party members, how hopeful are you that it will yield desired result?
We are making progress, we are meeting everybody. there is a committee and I happened to be one of the member of the committee, sub-committee of the elders who are meeting the aggrieved members across the state.
Is there positive response from those people?
Of course, when you meet somebody who has a grieve, of course, the person would express his grievances, then you are supposed to be a peacemaker, you have to find a way of carrying this grievance, discuss it with other group and see how to accommodate it. You must be open, you can not go there with a closed mind. We are meeting concerned individuals and trying to see how we can reunify. Like I told you, we have a situation, where, as a body, we fought and won and immediately after the victory we started fighting each other, so that means, there are practical problems, that is causing the problems, and of course, the witches are also going to be there. So, there is both the practical, political and spiritual. So, now that the elders have steeped in, we are hopeful to get it resolved.