At 58, a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State and former House of Representatives member, who represented Okene/Ogori Magongo federal constituency, Hon. Suleiman Abdul Kokori, is yet to see the Nigeria of his dream. In this interview with Shola Oyeyipo, he enjoined President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the call for the restructuring of the country. Excerpts:
As a former federal lawmaker, would you say you have seen the Nigeria of your dream at 58?
No. I have not because in Nigeria, the ethnicity problem is very major. For instance, Buhari being from the North is causing the Niger Delta Avengers to be blowing our pipelines because he is not from the South; they are trying to discredit his government. So, the earlier we sit down and talk restructuring of Nigeria the better
What do you consider the way forward?
There is no point trying to stay as one Nigeria and all these are still happening and drawing the country backwards. It is either we go back to the regional government system; with a ceremonial president or every region forms its own country. Enough is enough. We should call a spade a spade. Each and every region has one advantage over others, so let everyone make maximum use of theirs and move on.
But restructuring seems as a very tall dream because like previous governments, the Buhari administration does not want to go that way
That is why we are not progressing the way are supposed to progress till today. We need to sit on a round table and talk amicably. Is UK not pulling out of EU, did the heaven fall?
Have you any message for President Buhari on the debate?
He should seriously think about it.
Do you think enough has not been done in improving agriculture in Nigeria?
Agriculture is a big time venture that we should also face very seriously. It is not a child’s play. Government should organise us better. They need to go about it the right way. Look at the crises going on with the cattle rearing in people’s farm resulting to killings all over the country. Cattle farming all over the world is well done. It is not just to rear your cows on someone else’s farm and destroying their farms. The herdsmen should have their farms, where they can rear their castles and not to be roaming about.
But how do you really assess the APC government, particularly the anti-corruption war, which some have criticised as selective?
I want to believe seriously that that there is nothing selective about the war on corruption being executed by the Buhari government. If anyone is sure that somebody is not being prosecuted for one thing or the other, come out and report with your fact to the EFCC. President Buhari should go ahead with the war on corruption and we should be patient with him. Things will eventually be alright.
The Governor Yahaya of Kogi State is embattled within his party, what is your take on the issues and how do you think the party can address some of the issues?
The emergence of Yahaya Bello as governor in Kogi state is one of a kind in this country. It has never happened before that someone from outside the political bloc of powers to just come and take the power. So, most of the old politicians from whom power has been taken are still trying to fight from every angle to stop him because they think it is not possible and to cap it all, he is a young man, who had no godfather. So, my advice is that everyone should come to terms with the fact that this young man is the governor today. We should all join him to move the state forward.
What are your future political ambition. I have heard some of your people say someone like you should go to the senate. Are you considering that?
Yes, my people are wishing that I should go to the senate but I think it is rather too early to start on it now. It is also not a bad idea.