Why Nigeria Needs to Prepare for the Consequences of the Russia-Ukraine War – Akinyemi

A former foreign minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has called on the German government to reassess its domestic preparedness to deal with the consequences of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Akinyemi, speaking at Lagos State University’s Department of History and International Relations’ second lecture series on “Competing Narratives of the Russo-Ukrainian War” in Lagos on Friday in Lagos, said some combatants in the war are already on their way to Africa, so must the nation ready to deal with any destabilization conspiracy that such a one might bring.

He said: “Nigeria must focus on its own security as fighters leave Europe; They come to Africa. That is why we have this destabilization in the Sahel. So you need to secure the nation and increase agricultural production as well. We must store them (fighters) because a hungry nation is an angry nation.

“The country needs to put money into the security sector. Our troops are good when they are well equipped and motivated. The new leader has to be prepared for a lot of hard work.”

Akinyemi said the binding principle adopted by the African Union restricts any African country from expanding its borders into another, as in the case of Russia.

He said: “We have a binding principle that was adopted long ago when the Organization of African Unity was formed. This is the sanctity of borders we inherited at independence. You don’t invade your fellow country’s border because you have Niger and Benin in your country so you need to extend Nigeria’s border.

“No, we foresaw it and said these limits are artificial and we must maintain them. And that’s why many Africans say Russia shouldn’t have invaded Ukraine. But we all know where our own shoes hurt.”

He described the sanctity of facts and the fallacy of mainstream interjections as factors to consider when analyzing the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

According to him, what the media presents is an edited version of the facts about the war.

The ex-minister added: “No one can change the fact that there is a war going on between the two countries. As scholars and students, don’t say I heard that on CNN, BBC and Aljazeera and you come to a conclusion. What you get in the media is an edited version of the facts. You also get different interpretations and presentations of the same event.

“In a way, we all, whether media or analysts, speak for either the Global South or the Global North, but university scholars tend to gravitate towards what I call the Integrity Center. We could use the publication to draw attention to where there might be problems of interpretation, but the integrity of a scientist and the integrity of a university environment is to state up front where you stand in relation to the analysis.

“You also have to beware of the mainstream fallacy. Every event has a beginning. You get into the middle of a fight and you start drawing conclusions. That’s part of the problem of war. Your conclusion should depend on the historical antecedents of the war.”

He urged Nigerian youth to fight for what is theirs as the general election draws near, adding that the fight for democracy did not come on a silver platter.

He said: “The youth must fight for their corner. People often think that we got things on a silver platter, but that wasn’t the case. I lost a brother who was in the army fighting for democracy. He died at the age of 45 because he was involved in combat and willing to pay the sacrifice.

“Abacha chased me. I might have rather been dead than talking to you here. So young people don’t get anything on a silver platter; You have to fight around your corner.”

The Head of the Department of History and International Relations, LASU, Dr. Adewunmi Falode said the theme of the lecture was driven by the need to send warnings to some Nigerians that are fueling the embers of the war.

He said: “The Russo-Ukrainian war is a burning issue; it runs. We are trying to warn Nigerians that in war you cannot predict the outcome. Who would have thought that Russia would have destroyed Ukraine within a month? But since war is not a science, unfortunately they are still fighting.

“So it’s a warning to Nigeria and these so-called ethnic militias who want Nigeria to be divided, as well as one tribe who thinks they’re going to defeat the other.”

Comments are closed.