The ongoing situation between two brotherly countries is unfortunate. Nigeria remains non-aligned in any conflict situation, but we are deeply concerned about the potential impact of the crisis on global peace and security, and we call on parties to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means as that is the best option for resolving conflicts and fostering international peace and security,” he said.
Vice President Shettima then commended President Putin and the Russian government for convening the Summit, noting that “it is very significant to Nigeria in many respects.”
According to him, “the second session of the Russia-Africa Summit is coming at a time when the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is implementing a home-grown and private sector-driven Economic Agenda that is predicated on good governance, infrastructure and human capital development, as well as business climate reforms with the expected outcomes in job creation, and poverty alleviation.
The need, therefore, to invite private sector participation in the Nigerian economy cannot be over-emphasized. Moreover, the timing of the summit is very appropriate, as it is a case of “Investments meeting Opportunities.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, paid glowing tributes to the continent’s founding fathers, noting their contributions to the development of the current African State.
President Putin, who spoke on a wide range of areas of cooperation between both countries, including security and defence, commerce, agriculture and climate agenda, reiterated his country’s commitment to the full economic transformation of the African continent.
He said, “Russia is sincerely ready and willing to stand by African countries in their efforts to address challenges confronting them. We cherish our relationship with each African nation and will make efforts to sustain it.”
Altogether, 17 African Heads of State, five vice presidents, 10 Heads of government, and some business leaders from Russia, Africa and beyond, attended the second edition of the summit at St Petersburg’s ExpoForum.
The outcome of the Summit were as follows:
(i) African leaders have presented a proposal to help defuse the conflict, which Putin has acknowledged could be a basis for peace.
(ii) Restoring the Black Sea Grain Initiative
(iii) There is no doubt that the reduced turn out of Africa leaders and straight talking about the need for peace and a grain deal will have sent a clear signal to Moscow.
What was most remarkable was that while the Summit was going on there were several major distractions – the endless charges filed against the former President of America, Donald Trump and the women football world cup in Australia. Just pure bad luck for President Putin at a time when he expected the rest of the world to grant Russia centre stage in the global arena. The worst offender was the coup d’etat in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. The President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum was toppled on July 26, 2023 and the former head of the presidential guard, General Abdourahmane Tchiani immediately announced himself as the new Head of State. He dissolved the constitution and declared military rule.
Goodbye to democracy.
That was when the real drama erupted. ECOWAS (Economic Community of West Africa States) under the Chairmanship of Nigeria’s President, Senator (Asiwaju) Bola Ahmed Tinubu would have none of it. It gave Niger a seven day ultimatum to return to civil rule or face grave consequences – economic blockade; border closure, and the threat of military force. Nigeria then proceeded to switch off the supply of electricity to Niger. Darkness in the dark continent!!
Matters rapidly got more complicated when the United States of America and France entered the fray. The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron did not mince words – Democracy must be restored. However, matters took a dangerous dimension when Russia (through the Wagner Group) and other African states under military rule – Chad; Burkina Faso; Mali etc took the side of the defiant military rulers. They were all firmly against France, their former colonial rulers. While all this was going on, the military ruler of Niger appointed a new Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine (who was formerly the Minister of Finance) and a twenty-one member cabinet.
Anyway, during the closing ceremony of the Africa Summit the retired partners of KPMG who are still waiting for their pension and gratuity were shocked to hear over the loudspeaker system that they should come on stage to be introduced to President Vladimir Putin. However, that was not the end of the drama. Almost immediately afterwards, Yevgeny Prigozhim head of the Wagner Group who had attempted to topple Putin a few weeks ago surrounded St. Petersburg. He was no longer interested in toppling Putin. He wanted to talk to the retired partners of KPMG. He offered us a deal. He would pay us our gratuity and pension but we must be prepared to join the Wagner Group at the warfront either in Ukraine or Niger!!
It suddenly dawned on us that it was time to flee Russia!! What was strange was that Russia media kept repeating Nigeria when in fact it was Niger to which they were referring.
To make matters worse, we were accused of neglecting our professional duties by not setting up XKPMG offices in Niger as a counter to coup d’etats and looting of the treasury.
As “Breaking News”, the video of the Nigerien Minister of Finance, Ahmat Jidoud under President Mohamed Bazoum in tears when the new military gave him twenty-four hours to divulge where the looted funds had been stashed or face execution by firing squad went viral.
As for the retired partners of KPMG, we put up a stout and very robust rebuttal when we were accused of failing to warn Nigeria. We promptly produced the video of the “security summit” hosted by J.K. Randle Professional Services in 2011. As for Niger, our only offence was to cross the border through Katsina into Zinder to savour Nigerien (tuared) music and French food and wine.
That was almost thirty years ago when the Nigeriens were proudly Francophone. The retired partners of KPMG were lucky to escape the drone attack on St. Petersburg by the indomitable President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The drone carried a special message: “Nigerians beware of getting dragged into war with Niger – your own kith and kin. It is all about lithium and uranium further complicated by French and American military buses in Niger.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner group leader had a special message for the J. K. Randle Family: “You should hire us to recover your family property at Onikan, Lagos which has been hijacked by the government. It looks like an abandoned project. Great shame. St. Petersburg is proud of its history. In your own case your heritage is being plundered.”