Ex-UK PM urges Nigeria for a stronger relationship, declares support for Ukraine
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advocated for a better mutually beneficial connection between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
He stated that this will help both countries realise their full potential.
On Monday, the former Prime Minister spoke in Lagos at the 16th Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe lecture series, with the theme “Rehumanising Human Experience.”
“Now is the time. When the world is so uncertain, when some nations are disentangling, now is the time for the UK and Nigeria, two great democracies to work together,” Johnson, who is still a serving member of the British parliament, said in his keynote address.
“Nigeria can be a renewable superpower and still be a producer of oil and gas. We could be much more together.”
Other areas for continued collaborations, according to him, include the ideas of free trade, free speech, free elections.
Apart from seeking closer Nigeria-UK ties, he urged countries to unleash the potentials of their citizens by prioritising education.
“You need a society that is opened and that is tolerant to develop human potentials,” he said, adding that” urban successes are built on freedom under the law”.
‘Ukrainians are going to win’
More than one year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Johnson remains upbeat about the outcome of the war.
“The Ukrainians are going to win,” he said. “Putin got it wrong because he’s undemocratic. He has only Yes-men.”
The high profile event, attended by national and global leaders in politics, focused on developing human potentials.
Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Chief Emeka Anyaoku; President-Elect Bola Tinubu, represented by Former Deputy Governor Femi Pedro; presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State represented by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, were among those present.
Chief Anyaoku set the tone by speaking about the legacies of the former PM and how he’s made the welfare of the people a priority.
“He’s a remarkable British politician and leader. He has so far left legacies in modern British politics. He was the Prime Minister who followed the decision of the majority of the British people…it was he therefore (in popular parlance) who got Brexit done,” Chief Anyaoku said.
“I believe if we were to effectively pursue the theme of this 16th lecture series of the Osigwe anyiam-Osigwe, namely: ‘Rehumanising Human Experience,’ consideration of the comprehensive welfare of the people should be the bedrock of policies and actions of politicians and actions across the world.”
For the Lagos Deputy Governor, the topic is a clarion call and a challenge that must taken up by all.
He enjoined Nigerians to be patriotic and avoid demeaning or de-marketing the country.
“We will go nowhere if all we see about our country are the negatives,” he said.
Boris Johnson is one of the world leaders who have been invited for the lecture to share their thoughts various issues of global importance, with the benefits of their experiences and perspectives.