Chief Abiola Ogundokun, the publisher of Conscience International Magazine was the national publicity secretary of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, in the Second Republic, in this interview, he spoke on many issues including why President Muhammadu Buhari should take ongoing protests and agitation for Republic of Biafra seriously
By Gbenga Olarinoye
What is your take on comments that the President Muhammadu Buhari government is slow?
I have been in politics for over 56 years and I have witnessed so many governments in Nigeria, and all over the world. If anyone is saying that Buhari has not performed, I will say Buhari needs time to study the situation of things, he cannot just rush.
Most of the things happening today are not his making but he still has to work very hard with the opposition and people in government. Buhari must work with them and obtain ideas from the people. But to say he is not doing very well, I don’t think it is anything but political.
Nigerians need some patience, one year is too short to adjudge a new president. The type of military government he did is not like now, he is now in the democratic system and those military period, he was dictatorial, but now, he has to feel the pulse of every sector with a view to knowing what next to do.
We should all work together in Nigeria and embrace the opposition, get a little bit of their own ideas, whenever we want to condemn something, we must proffer solutions in order for the person you are condemning to make corrections.
One thing I will advise President Buhari as a politician is to thread slowly over Senate President Bukola Saraki, he should not allow Saraki to be swallowed or destroyed because it will portend a very serious danger to the All Progressives Congress (APC). They should call themselves to a round table and resolve whatever is happening to the party and allow Saraki to rest.
What is your take on the ongoing protests and agitation for the actualisation of Biafra Republic?
It is a very serious matter that should be handled with care and maturity. They should not start talking about secession or creation of another state. The America you see today has so many states and no American will support the breakaway of any little arm of America. Britain fought when one of its states wanted to go away.
Nigeria must ensure that it doesn’t break. We should try to resolve our differences rather than allowing ourselves to break up. If Biafra breaks away Nigeria is losing out in the comity of Nations. Look at the Arab world now, America has succeeded in breaking them into pieces and you can see that they are not in peace, they are experiencing wars over and over again. The same thing is happening in Africa, it will be rewarding for us all if all African nations can be a country.
I don’t think Buhari should overlook their agitation but find a solution. Buhari should bring Biafrans nearer, and study the situation in Nigeria so that every segment of Nigeria will be part of the progress of the country and the sharing of whatever comes to us. We are talking about fair share, fair share is when you are able to give people their entitlement and they get what is due to them and everybody will be happy.
You know what affected PDP in the decision making, there was no Yoruba man, the end result is the fall of the party. We cried, we talked, we advised the then president and when the people told him what to do, the money mongers went after his money and destroyed him. I am happy that I told him in the presence of those who sneaked him out and today he must be thinking that Chief Abiola Ogundokun told him this thing in the presence of everybody inside the villa. So, I want to appeal to Buhari to look into the agitation of the MASSOB.
Going by the recent tribunal judgements on Rivers and Taraba governorship petitions, PDP alleged that the judiciary is playing to the instruction of the presidency, do you believe in such thing?
PDP in one of the papers made a very strong point about the Taraba case, making reference to Benue situation, while the man left the PDP like yesterday and was adopted today without going through any primaries, and today he is the governor of that state and no one has removed him even at the tribunal, so I think PDP made a good point there, so the judiciary should be very careful in reference to decisions taken in some other courts, it should be uniform. PDP should be careful of what is happening because they are losing out in many places and Buhari is the president of Nigeria and he is the president of the APC, and he is also the president of the PDP.
As an elder statesman, I will prefer that we find solution to our problems in Nigeria and work together to promote Nigeria. Buhari should not do anything that will provoke a section or group by doing anything that will not create progress for the country because it could be very dangerous.