Senator Solomon Ewuga is one of Nigeria’s most notable politicians. He is among the very few politicians to have served in both the Legislature and the Executive arms of government. He first served as Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State; He was Minister of State, FCT and was elected by his people as Senator representing Nasarawa North Senatorial District. Senator Ewuga, is an astute politician, an administrator and a media expert with practical experience in journalism and advertising. Ewuga began his journey into politics in 1982 when he contested and won the position of the Publicity Secretary of the National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) and later became the National Auditor for UNCP from 1996 to 1997. When the People’s Democratic Party , PDP, was formed in 1998, he was the Assistant National Legal Adviser, North Central Zone, and later a governorship aspirant for PDP in Nasarawa state in 1998. In 2007 he won the governorship candidature of the All Nigerians People’s Party (ANPP).As a serving Senator representing the people of Nasarawa North in the National Assembly his active and vibrant contribution to debates on the floor of the Senate would not cease to resonate. Because of his impact on his people, he was affectionately referred to as “The Peoples Senator”. Ewuga was guest of DAILY ASSET’s editorial board where he spoke on many issues, including the crisis facing his party; PDP and why he thinks the ruling-APC will also not be spared of intra- party squabble.
With the economic and political challenges the nation is experiencing today, do we think Nigeria is going towards the right direction, especially with the ongoing agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra and all that?
What the country is going through is not new with democratic experiences: Biafra agitation, quit notice from the Northern youths, all point to the fact that Nigeria is going through a total demographic variable. We had our independent progenitors, those that fought for the country’s independence and were in charge of the nation,also at independent before the military took over and truncated her democracy. The longtime of military rule adversely affected our democracy. With democracy and free will coming to our people, the youths of today, who never experienced democracy before are trying to take undue advantage of the freedomof speech and expression provided by democracy as a new vista, They are trying to manifest as a strong variable. But there is a strong disconnect and big leadership deficit in the country. As a Chinese proverb says, when the fish is rotten from the head, it affects the whole body, and that is what is affecting us. There is the need for the leaders to engage with its people; to talk to them. The leadership must engage and talk with the people.
Then, where do we go from here?
I always like to apply the military doctrine of a friend and a foe, which is the first doctrine of the military during war. In today’s military doctrine, when you win a war, there is no more foe. And after the war, engagement becomes the policy. We must therefore engage ourselves, and democracy goes hand- in- hand with dialogue, with engagement. First thing is to begin, to work on our mentality. At the end of the day, those that were involved, engaged in war eventually come to dialogue on the same table. There should be a paradigm shift of dialogue. We should engage ourselves as one people, and as one nation .We must realise that challenges, difficulties, go hand in hand with democracy. There is a big gap in our practice of democracy with what is obtainable on the ground. We cannot be democratic and have a shallow middle. We must apply the military doctrine of engagement to solve our problems.
You made several attempts to be in Government House, Lafia without success. How do you feel with your experience?
In life, when you succeed, you become everybody’s hero; but when you fail, you become a philosopher. Socrates said that when you have a good wife, you have peace of mind, but when you have a bad one you become a philosopher. Possibly I have not succeeded because I have not understood my people or they do not understand me, my philosophy and plans. There are other issues that conflict with our personal interests. They could be religious, ethnic or personal, but one must be able to harmonise all these to political success .Whenever I reflect on my experiences so far, I feel that it was possible I did not engage my people enough for them to understand me, or I do not understand them well enough. It must be also be borne in mind, the complexity, the multiplicity of my state, my people; the various ethnic groups and the variables , various issues that would have played roles that conflict against one’s presumed interest. But one has to play on this synergy to have a qualitative whole. Probably there is still much to be done on my side to create synergy, to create capacity from various variables to create a qualitative leadership.