Leading Kano-based politician and former member of the House of Representatives in the, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, shares rare, explosive insights on power and politics in modern Nigeria. It’s yet one of those interviews that make TheInterview magazine different from the rest:
After prolonged foot-dragging, President Buhari finally released Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowere. He has also promised to respect court orders. Do you think the President will keep his promise?
I am not privy to the thinking of Mr. President and I don’t know his sources of advice. I don’t know if those around him are lawyers or not. They could have their own reasons. And whether their reasons are legal or political, frankly speaking, it would be uncharitable for me to say, because I don’t know.
One thing is certain. Obedience to court orders is a very important component of elective democracy.
Their refusal to obey multiple court orders can in fact constitute a major source of anarchy to any government, whether that government is freely elected or it is totalitarian. Even in a totalitarian state, people rare expected to obey court orders.
Having said so, one has to be very careful about lumping the two issues together. Sambo Dasuki was part and parcel of the group under a military government who made it a habit to arrest people without any reason.
I was a victim of that kind of reckless abuse of power. Aliyu Gusau, who was in the previous government the NSA, then later, the so-called coordinator of national security and Dasuki were the masterminds of my arrest.
I was taken during Ramadan while I was fasting. I was taken to Zaria and then taken back on the excuse that the car was not in good condition. Then I was taken out in another rickety car, driven to Ajaokuta, and from Ajaokuta, I was driven to Ondo State. I was kept in detention in Owo.
Sambo Dasuki assigned people to me even when I was in detention. And they were stealing my documents, giving them to him and he was taking the documents to Babangida. It was when Babangida got pissed off with the whole process that he told Dasuki off.
Babangida said Doctor (referring to me) has the capacity to abuse me face to face. So, don’t bring his letters to me. In fact, the issue that drew Babangida’s anger was a letter I wrote to late Gen. John Shagaya who was then minister of internal affairs.
Babangida said John was my friend and John knew that Junaid was my friend. So why should you bring his personal letters addressed to a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council? And of course, when he finally took the letter to its destination, to then Col. Shagaya. Shagaya gave him an earful.
So, if you live by treachery and abuse your power, you are likely to go down by treachery and abuse of power. I don’t sympathize with Sambo Dasuki one bit. Those of you in the Lagos media who want to bundle so many unconnected issues together, have yourselves to blame because you end up drawing no logical conclusion from the issues.
The issue of Sowore is a different matter entirely. As far as I am concerned, whether he is guilty as charged or not is beside the point. The issue was that he was granted bail by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The refusal to obey that bail order, in my view could constitute a great slight on the government, not necessarily on the president, because the president can only work on what has been presented to him.
So, how this came about, I think it was very unfortunate because the people in the SSS under the current head, I know, are very competent. And they are very decent and level headed.
If this had happened under Lawal Daura, who was a thug, and behaved and talked like a thug, I would not have been surprised. But I was surprised because the present D.G of the SSS is very calm, very deliberate and the kind of person any government or any politician can do business with.
So, I hope this is the end of this nightmare, and I hope that in future, some of these agencies that are not composed of lawyers entirely, learn to delegate their legal assignments to competent lawyers who have competent jurisdictions. Unless you are a lawyer, some of these things might not be known to you.
But why did Babangida want you detained?
This is one of the jokes about politics. Sometimes, you find yourself destined to confront a friend.
But at the end of the day, if you are sincere friends, you learn to tell yourselves some uncomfortable truths. Right now, if you ask Babangida about me, he will say I am not only a friend, I am a brother.
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General has claimed both detainees, Dasuki and Sowere, were released out of compassion rather than in response to local and international pressure. Do you agree with that view?
The Attorney General was being economical with truth. The fact of the matter is that whatever the reason for their release, public opinion played a role. You cannot ignore that. Those who wanted them released were not canvassing the issue of compassion.
People were saying that if there was a court order, that court order should be respected. The idea that they were released out of compassion is arrant nonsense.
The detention of Dasuki for four years, his trial in court for corruption and using public funds to executive an election was, in some way, a direct threat to the freedom and image of President Goodluck Jonathan. With Dasuki’s release on bail. Can Jonathan breathe a sigh of relief?
You are asking me to comment on an issue, which to me, strictly speaking is subjudice. It is still before the court of law. It has not been resolved. And the issues which are been canvassed have not been thoroughly distilled in a court of law.
But that money has been taken from the treasury, directly from the central bank or from Dasuki’s in-house account, in the office of the national security adviser is something that cannot be contested. Those who took the money have confessed, yes they took the money.
Some said they took the money for prayer. Some said they took the money to hand it over to traditional rulers. I don’t know if traditional rulers have any right to public money simply because elections were approaching.
And a number of people have been talking all sorts of excuses to justify collecting money. They knew the money didn’t belong to them and certainly did not belong to the president to dispense as he wished.
Under our system, in our constitution, money which has not been appropriated by the National Assembly cannot be spent. Money which has not been spent, at the end of the fiscal year, again cannot be rolled over. It has to go back to the beginning of the appropriation process. As far as I am concerned, this is neither here nor there.
Now, whatever role Sambo Dasuki claimed to be the role of the president or whatever the reasons for Goodluck, justifying that kind of largesse with public money, it is up to them to justify in the court of law. It is not my idea of running a government.
If you are a responsible person, a responsible officer, under the law, you must behave as if you are under the law. If you think you are above the law, take the money and spend the way you like.
But none of the money belonged to Goodluck or Sambo Dasuki. And to make matters worse, everybody knew that Sambo Dasuki’s father went beyond what you will call lobbying to get the job for Sambo Dasuki. And this is tied up with their local sultanate position.
Apparently, these days, if you want to be emir in your town, get a huge amount of money, and of course you are guaranteed to buy the kingmakers. It happened in Kano, you bribe the governor or whatever. That is the problem we are having in Kano.
Are suggesting that the present Emir bought the seat?
He says it himself. This is not the first allegation I have made against him. I have consistently challenged him to take me to court. He has never done so. He has never even had the guts to reply.
This is not the first time. I am now 70 years old. I am older than the Emir of Kano, who I have known since childhood. And I knew his father and mother.
You were once a member of the National Assembly. How would you rate the performance of the leaders of the 9th Assembly. Are they a rubber stamp as many are claiming?
I don’t necessarily think so. I believe the job of the National Assembly is not necessarily to oppose any government in power. And that was the confusion during the leadership of Bukola Saraki. He felt that since he was president of the senate, his job was to stymie, to frustrate, to sabotage the work of the government, whether he had a reason or not.
He ran the Senate like some kind of village headmaster or some tin-god. And the way he, and the one before him, David Mark were dismissing members of the Senate on the floor of the Senate without any due process clearly indicated that it was not being democratically ran, even though it is a democratic institution.
Due process was something totally alien to Bukola Saraki. And of course the corruption which attended the work of that senate was legendary. Everybody knew about it.
So, as far as I am concerned, the fact that other people, the current president of the senate, who is not my candidate, the way he is behaving is simply something I regard as reasonable and I believe the job of that arm of government is not only to be subservient to the government, but to challenge where the need arises.
You don’t simply confront the presidency or the executive branch simply because you are members of the senate or the National Assembly. You have to have a sense of balance and a sense of proportion. Without that, government itself would be impossible to run.
So, I don’t regard them as a rubber stamp. But I also would insist that where they find themselves at odds with some of the weird thinking in the presidency, they should put their foot down and say no.
But where there is no reason other than just to make, or get some cheap opportunistic lawyers to come and support them in what they do, I don’t think that is the business of the legislature. The legislature is not beholden to some noisemakers, it is beholden to the entire nation.
The lawmakers are planning to spend N37bn to renovate the National Assembly complex. Isn’t that enough to build an entirely new complex?
First, the question is misplaced in the sense that, what are the alternative uses for the billions they want to spend? The argument that you should advance, even if you want to be mischievous is that, is it necessary to spend billions on renovating the National Assembly because I believe that amount of money can be used to build an entirely new National Assembly complex.
I don’t support it and I think it is reckless. In a country where the economy is tittering on the brink of recession, to spend money, to even dare mention that you are spending that kind of money is utter recklessness and I believe they should reconsider the issue.
A few days ago, there was a Supreme Court verdict sacking the governor of Imo replacing him with the APC candidate. A lot of Nigerians can’t seem to understand how it came about for someone that came fourth in an election to be declared winner by the court. What do you think it says about justice in Nigeria?
To be honest with you, I don’t know enough about the Imo case. But this is not the first judgement to be delivered in the manner it was and leaves a number of people wondering: is this justice or is there some sinister motive behind this kind of judgement? We have not seen the reasons adduced by the Supreme Court judges.
Unless I see that, I am not prepared to pass any comment. Even if you are a lawyer, given the lousy characters we have who are making noise in the pages of newspapers, it does not qualify you to determine what is justice and what is not justice, and what is right or wrong in the law.
I don’t know the Uzodinma fellow. I might have met Ihedioha through the former Speaker of the House who is now governor of Sokoto. Beyond that, frankly speaking, I don’t know.
I will want to get the facts before I pass any comment. I don’t believe I know everything. I don’t believe you people in the media know everything because you always go with your minds made up and you expect the nation to follow you blindly. I don’t follow any newspaper man blindly.
“Why should emirs who steal, whether in their current positions as emirs or in their previous position as public servants be allowed to remain?”
Very recently, General T. Y. Danjuma (retd.) said Nigerian will no longer sleep if he opened up on what was happening in Nigeria. He said this after a leader of Afenifere said Buhari’s agenda is to dominate the southwest. A few have praised Danjuma, others have accused him of stoking divisions. What do you think?
I have known Danjuma for a number of years and I have observed his manners and mannerism. I have observed his statements. I also know that the current Danjuma of today is not just some ordinary soldier.
He is a businessman. Everything he does, it is not the national interest that dictates what he says or what he does. It is his own selfish business interest. And I know there are issues in which he wanted his own interest and the interest of the people he claims to represent, even though that is not the case, and he wanted that to be executed or to be allowed by the government of the day. And this is not the first time. It happened even under Obasanjo and other leaders. I am not surprised he is saying what he is saying.
Those who claim and that includes Danjuma, that the present government is out to dominate them in Mambila Plateau or in Taraba or wherever and others who say the government is out to dominate the southwest, they are talking nonsense. They are being unfair. They are unjust.
I have had issues of a fundamental nature with Buhari and his administration. But I have never claimed that Buhari is out to dominate anybody, even those who are neighbours to his hometown in Daura and to his home state. I have never claimed that he is out to dominate people.
The issues I raised had to do with, not even religion or tribe. It had to do with what I call nepotism. So people should be very careful about what they say. But if they want the country to burn to ashes, let us begin. Danjuma has more at stake.
The whole of the things I own, apart from my house, I can put them in one car and drive off. Those who have assets and billions of money all over the world are the ones asking for trouble, let there be trouble. We will see who will shout first.
Buhari has been unable to settle differences with old political foes, particularly his former military colleagues. Isn’t that enough reason for continued political instability?
Are you saying that unless the retired generals, most of whom are redundant and they are a liability to the country….are you saying that unless Buhari settles whatever differences he has with them, opens the Central Bank for them, gives them oil blocs, gives them monopoly in certain businesses like in ports, there will be no peace in Nigeria? If that is your definition of peace, let there be no peace.
But the issues Danjuma hinted at have been raised in the international arena with the US State Department putting Nigeria on a watchlist of country’s that create room for religious persecution. Surely you have to admit that in a state like Kaduna, there are Christians that feel under siege. Shias, too, claim there freedoms are being curbed.
Well, first and foremost, I am a Muslim. The Shias claim also to be Muslims. My being a Muslim does not raise my own confessional status above everybody else. I have been a victim. I was driving from Kaduna to Kano in my own car and I was sick. I had very serious malaria.
The Shias were coming from Kano to somewhere. Not even from Kano, they simply stopped all of us for over one and a half hours. I was shivering by the time they allowed us to pass. Are you saying that, by not allowing them to do that, I am somehow diminishing their religious rights? No. Rights must go with responsibility.
Those who claim they have rights must also admit that other people have rights also. And to claim that the Shia feel threatened, look what is happening in the home of Shia in Iran today. People coming out to demonstrate are being shot at. What are you telling me?
Beside, those of you in the media who are quick to comment don’t know anything about the Shia/Sunni conventional quarrel. It has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with relevance and superiority of arms and economies in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia, which is a so called Sunni, because they are Wahabbis and of course, the Shias in Iran. It should be between Saudi Arabi and Iran. You and I have no business with it.
But if the Iranians can come and give people money here to create a non-existing Shia movement in this country and use it to intimidate the government, I understand they are even being accused, there allegations they even involved with some of the terrorist organizations in the northeast. Then, you begin to wonder what is the responsibility of government.
The government is not here to allow every Tom, Dick and Harry, bring out his people, his uniform and then challenge the law and order of the society. The primary responsibility of government, if you want to know, is not to allow every idiot to go and do what it likes.
The primary responsibility is the maintenance of law and order. As much as possible, make sure that everybody is safe. And those who are safe, do realize that they have a responsibility to the government itself and to the country.
But you can’t say the same about the Christians in the state, that they are infringing on the rights of others. Are they right to feel they are not been protected by the government?
Do you know that Zaria is a town and it is in Kaduna State? Do you realize that what happened in Zaria was because the Shias went and blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff and all appeals to them to give way did not succeed?
An appeal to the Emir of Zaria, and the Emir of Zaria in turn appealed to El-Zakzaky, also failed. So, are you saying that soldiers should allow the Chief of Army Staff to be humiliated? I think you are not serious.
You people are just looking for issues to criticize the government or to criticize the army. I criticize the Army and I criticized Buratai several times personally. But let me tell you, if I were the Chief of Army Staff, I would let my soldiers bulldoze their way through the crowd of gangsters and make sure I find my way to the palace of the Emir of Zaria.
You are talking about Kaduna, are you saying that it is only in Kaduna or Southern Kaduna that what you say applies?
Do you think this government has had a negative impact on the relationship between Muslims and Christians?
Why under this government?
My question is centered around the U.S putting Nigeria on a watch list and it is indictment on the government. Internally, Nigerians have different opinions, what do you think?
The relationship between different religious groups and even among the same religion, that the factions of the religion is not what it should be. I wish there was more responsibility. But there is very little you and I can do unless the leaders of the religions themselves are prepared to be peaceful, to live in harmony and give peace a chance.
At the moment, what is happening is that the leaders of religious groups in Islam and in Christianity are corrupt. They are taking money from politicians. And they are the ones who are agitating for violence or threatening the government itself and threatening the very existence of the country.
You cannot now blame this government. There have been previous problems. And there have been previous attempts, heroic attempts at misinterpretation of the problems of this country.
During the civil war, the whole of the Biafran propaganda was geared towards presenting the problem of the civil war as a problem between Christians and Muslims. There was talk of genocide, there was talk of all these kind of things. I was alive and well, maybe you were too young to understand.
The reality is we need responsible leadership, among religious groups, not just government. But if these corrupt religious leaders or corrupt generals for that matter, think we owe them loyalty, that we owe them whatever they want otherwise, there is going to be no peace. We will see who will cry first.
Defending human rights has not been a priority for the present US administration. Do you think local US politics, particularly as it relates Evangelical Christians, the base of U.S President Donald Trump who could determine whether he wins or loses the next election, influenced the decision to place Nigeria on a watch list?
Nigeria is not the only country under watch. Burma has been under watch. Even though the current political leader of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi has been the darling of the Americans, now they are the ones castigating her. So we are not the only country and we are not unique.
I understand the Vice President Mike Pence maybe coming here. And in terms of the hierarchy of Evangelicals, he is much more senior than Trump. President Trump is more of a religious opportunist who doesn’t care to use religion in order to serve his own political purposes.
The whole issue, as far as I am concerned is that we should be conscious of what we do and what is in our own interest, not what other people say. Of course we are not an island. We are part of the international community and we must be conscious of what the international community says about us.
But if some people here who have connections in America, most of it business connections; those who have oil blocs and are selling oil to them, to the Chinese and the rest; think they can use that position to dictate to the government of the day, which has been elected, then we have a serious problem. If you listen to them, there will be trouble. And imagine if you don’t listen to them, they can blackmail the government.
As far as I am concerned, they should be confronted. Danjuma is not above the law. Obasanjo is not above the law. Junaid Muhammad is not above the law. Nobody should be above the law in a democracy.
“Are you saying that unless Buhari settles whatever differences he has with them, opens the Central Bank for them, gives them oil blocs, gives them monopoly in certain businesses like in ports, there will be no peace in Nigeria? If that is your definition of peace, let there be no peace.”
There is a committee of northern leaders that is trying to bring an end to hostilities between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Emir Muhammad Sanusi. What do you think there goal should be?
I am not one of those elders. And as far as I am concerned, there is no problem to solve in Kano. If there is a personal quarrel between the governor and the Emir, okay, let them go and sort it out themselves. In trying to get involved in this matter, some people are being deliberately mischievous and they are fighting their own personal fights.
There was an attempt to reconcile this matter within Kano people. I was in the United Kingdom before Christmas. I traveled with a one time Vice President of this country and we got to discuss this issue.
The first question he asked is what is the locus of those so called northern elders? Who are they representing? How many of them have ever won elections in their lives? And how many people are from Kano? Of the three people sent to go and have a discussion with Ganduje, none of them is a Kano man.
In fact, one is a known enemy of Kano State and he has spent the whole of his life abusing and insulting Kano and Kano people. Now you make him among the three people to go and see Ganduje in an issue that, strictly speaking is a Kano issue.
As far as I am concerned, this issue is not a Federal Government or Buhari issue. It is a Kano issue. And the law that was passed was not a Federal law, which Buhari would have had the responsibility to implement the provisions of that law.
It was a Kano law. And when the law was quashed on a technicality, they went back and rewrote the law. So what’s the problem? You cannot tell me that because the governor of Kano has taken a decision to split the emirate and create more, the heavens will fall. This is not new, not new in the north, not new in Nigeria.
I remember vividly when I was growing up. The high-handedness, the corruption and oppression of the grandfather of Emir Sanusi was becoming too much, Aminu started mooting the idea of Kano State.
He started the movement, which is part of the old NEPU. He started calling it Kano. He even had a French suit with short sleeves which they use as a call, we are for Kano State. As a result many people were further imprisoned by that same Emir. And many people were killed.
Now you are telling me that if the emir of Kano is somehow muzzled or his power is reduced or his presence on the national stage or his reckless political statements are curbed, Kano will not be the same? Or the north will not be the same? So what?
The emirs are what they are because some people accept the emirate or the institution. I don’t. But even if I were the governor of Kano State, I would not want to demolish the emirate because apparently there are some people who respect the institution. I don’t. But that is another matter completely. But you have to be very careful about warning these emirs to keep away from politics.
I know for a fact, and I am glad there people involved who will now confirm. The Emir of Kano, when he was governor of Central Bank went to see my friend Bola Tinubu and went to see the current Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu telling them that a certain presidential candidate was actually the choice of Kano and the choice of the north. So, he would want them to support that person.
The Oba was diplomatic. But Tinubu told him in no uncertain terms that we are supporting Buhari; not because we like his face. We are supporting Buhari because, consistently, he has scored 12 million votes since he came into politics in 2002.
You cannot ignore that if you want to form the subsequent federal government. He said we will not leave our support for Buhari to support anybody else because we are being practical politicians, we are being pragmatic.
A similar thing was told to the then governor of the Central Bank by Oba Akiolu but in a more diplomatic way. And of course, he went to report to the people concerned. Now, during the last election, he came out openly giving people money.
Even if you are the emir, it is a crime in our laws, in the constitution and in the electoral law to come out and be giving people money openly. The judiciary has decided to ignore it. In fact, this fellow, (Justice Lawal) Uwais said if you give people salt or money, it doesn’t matter. That matters a lot because it is an attempt to subvert the will of the people, to support people who may not necessarily win the election on their own merit.
So if the emir is involved, and most of the emirs are involved in politics. And somehow, the person he opposed won the election; do they not have a right to deal with him? We have a situation whereby the emir goes to the mosque and makes very reckless statements that could have actually engineered violence.
You are telling me that a governor, who is the chief security officer of the state should simply ignore it, look at him and say God bless you, the emir of Kano.
In addition, there have been instances, both when he was governor of Central Bank and when he was emir, where he was involved in corruption. And this is not the first time I have said this. I challenge him to take me to court. EFCC has all the evidence.
For whatever reason, the evidence hasn’t come to light and he has not been taken to court. You are telling me, in spite of all these transgressions, this man, because he is an emir should be allowed to get away?
His own grandfather was dismissed because of corruption and high handedness. And he was dismissed by his closest friend, the late Sardauna of Sokoto. What Sardauna did was right because nobody raised a finger. But what he is doing now, he must be allowed to continue?
Then there are some characters in the north who are hypocrites, even though they don’t know they are being hypocritical.
They are saying if Kano Emirate is emasculated, the north will be rubbished. The north will seize to be important. If the north had stood for corruption, high handedness and recklessness, the north will stop to exist tomorrow morning.
Those who created the north created it on the basis of justice, peace and the rights of people. Sardauna removed so many emirs. Not Sardauna alone, Awolowo removed several of the Yoruba obas.
I knew the Olowo of Owo where I was detained. His family still produces the Olowo but he was effectively removed. And he was not the only one. There had been other emirs like one of the Oonis of Ife, who was also emasculated during the time of Awolowo. Why are people not raising those issues? They are just being economical with the truth, lying and using history to turn issues upside down.
The emir of Kano is a citizen of Nigeria. He has the right to say what he says, to the extent that he does not simply encourage violence and he does not get involved in partisan politics. If he wants to be involved in partisan politics, he should go straight away and do what he wanted to do. His first love is politics. Then he should leave the emirate and go into politics.
Some of us, I sacrificed my life, my career in medicine to go into politics. He should do the same. Again, I am telling you and if he challenges what I say, he should take me to court.
Once Buhari was sick, very sick in England, he went to Osinbajo, this current Emir Sanusi; he was sure that Buhari was going to die. And if Buhari dies, he would like Osinbajo to consider him as a vice president, even though on the surface, he belonged to no party.
He wanted Osinbajo to consider him as vice president! Now, anybody with any sense of logic, any sanity would not countenance this kind of thing. If for whatever reason, this issue was reported to Buhari, if Buhari were another leader, he would have got rid of him in a jiffy.
There are also other issues, which you people may not know or may not care to know because he is the darling of the media; that is, the southern media. But at the end of the day, if he is removed from the Emirate in Kano, nothing will happen in Kano.
He is not a threat to the security in Kano. I don’t know whether you know or you choose not to know, that there have been attempts by people to go on an uprising and remove him from the palace. Please go and find out.
I have to ask where you came about the information that he made this proposition to Osinbajo.
All the other things I have said were they supposed to be secret or confidential? You should ask me how do I come about my information. Please go and do your homework. The first job I was to do was to be a journalist. I was an editor of a paper right from my secondary days.
I was the first indigene of Kano State to be given a scholarship to go and study journalism after Kano was created in 1967. And they started giving scholarships in 1968. So these games you see, that you people play, are known to us. But we consider it beneath our dignity to go and start agitating or fomenting trouble.
Kano is my home. I don’t want a single man, not even a fowl, to die as a result of this thing. But the way he is going, trying to confront the governor with the help of a few hypocrites who call themselves elders, we are in serious trouble.
After having led a delegation to meet Ganduje, who was traveling out of the country before Christmas, I was already out of the country. They made the delegation, he said he was going to meet them. But to show how dishonorable the whole exercise was, before going to Ganduje, they went and asked Buhari to intervene so that Ganduje will receive them.
Buhari said this is not my problem, it is not my issue. They insisted. He said, no Ganduje will receive you, I assure you because even though you are not from Kano, he is a governor and I know him. So, go and meet him. After they met him, Ango Abdullahi went and gave a very uncouth, abusive interview to the BBC Hausa Service, which was heard all over the world.
First, he was not among the three who were supposed to have met Ganduje in advance of the main meeting. Then when that didn’t quite work out, I don’t know how they are going to resolve it.
Ango Abdullahi gave that very insulting, incendiary statement. He was not abusing Ganduje himself, he was abusing Buhari and the Federal Government.
Now from what I have just said, please you are free to go check it. Is it fair? And everybody knows that Ango Abdullahi has his own personal grouse with Buhari and it has to do with his (Ango Abdullahi’s) son and his younger brother. And that is why some of us who are criticizing Buhari were being abused, run down that we were looking for appointment. And when we didn’t get the appointment, we lashed out.
Now you can see Ango Abdullahi has given sufficient room in his statements and his behavior, his comportment or lack of it, to give credence to some of these things that are being said.
So, if he wants to reconcile with somebody, first you must ask yourself, who do I represent? I want to know, in Kano, who does Ango Abdullahi represent? Who does any one of them represent? Nobody. And in politics, how many of them have won an election? None. Because you have held some position in some ancient history, you must be heard and you are permanently an elder, somebody’s elder.
Well, they are not my elder and I am a Kano man. I have my father’s house, my grandfather’s house in Kano. Are you saying that what they say is superior to the opinion I hold? Some of this lack of logic stems from corruption within the media itself.
“Once Buhari was sick, very sick in England, he went to Osinbajo, this current Emir Sanusi; he was sure that Buhari was going to die. And if Buhari dies, he would like Osinbajo to consider him as a vice president, even though on the surface, he belonged to no party.”
Across the north, traditional rulers have mostly failed in developing their communities, aiding the poor to get educated and improve their lives. Doesn’t this defeat the reasons given by the governor in creating more emirate councils?
If they failed to bring development, encourage people to educate their children, why should more emirate councils be created? That is fine by me. But if that is the case, those that are now in existence have failed, why create more?
The logical thing would be to ask why the current ones should be retained? Of what use are they to anybody? You can’t just say more shouldn’t be created because existing ones are redundant. If they are redundant, they all should be swept away. And there are historical precedent for that.
In the 70s, the former Prime Minister of India, running a country of one billion people, stood in parliament and announced she was going to dissolve the entire institution of the “emirship”.
We are trying to make it legal by subterfuge, through the back door by creating a constitutional provision or budgetary provision for them to be given a certain percentage out of the subvention that comes from the federal government.
Of course, the person who was behind it when he was in power had no legitimacy. No military leader has any legitimacy anywhere. He is now one of those trying to make peace in Kano.
We want to know, what qualifies him to come and decide what will be termed as peace and what will be justice in Kano? And we want to know, with the people who are caught, who have been implicated in corruption. Many are being jailed. I think we have three governors already in jail.
Why should emirs who steal, whether in their current positions as emirs or in their previous position as public servants be allowed to remain? You people should answer the question.
In states like Zamfara, some traditional rulers have even been charged with conniving with bandits and fueling insecurity…
Which is very true. But do you know why the matter is now almost dying a natural death? Because a certain, powerful general is saying, he is begging in his own name, because of him, the emirs who have been implicated should be allowed to go free.
It means we have a two or three tier law. If you are somebody in the good books of those who are in power or those who stole money, like some of these generals, then you cannot be touched.
Which general are you referring to?
Go and find out how many generals are in Gusau. And which general has the capacity and who is a politician? And who is so reckless and unpatriotic that the people killing citizens in Zamfara should be allowed to go free because if him.
You have spoken out against zoning the presidency to the south. Yet, Buhari had to go into an alliance with the southwest to win the presidency. Are you suggesting the north should break that political alliance?
You are misrepresenting what I said. Maybe you didn’t read it or you didn’t get it the first time. I have never said the presidency should not be zoned to the south. I said I have opposed this concept of zoning and rotation even before it became implementable in 1999.
I am talking about 1979 when I was a member of parliament. And I am not the kind of person you simply ignore. I gave reasons. Those reasons have not been contradicted. If anything, everything I said about the consequences of zoning and rotation are now confronting us.
In normal human life, and among people who gave a sense of history, when you try something, and it hasn’t worked, you put aside and look for something else.
Clearly zoning has not solved any of the problems it was advertised to solve. It has not made us a more cohesive nation. It hasn’t brought peace. It hasn’t brought stability. It has not enhanced economic development.
Why must we continue zoning simply because some elites are ambitious? And anyway, in the 1995 constitution under Abacha, the leading actors in bringing about this zoning and rotation were retired generals.
Those who are used to getting power and exercising power without responsibility. Those who believe they have a divine right to govern because they have worn the uniform or they say they have gone to war to protect the integrity of the country. They are the ones behind it. And of course, some of them were out of the constitutional conference.
But everyone knew the role played by Shehu Yar’Adua, a retired general and Alex Ekwueme. And every one of them had his own ambition in mind, not the peace, stability or economic development of the country. And there were many other generals who played a role.
As far as I am concerned, I oppose it because it is counter productive. It has not worked. It has not solved our problems. Laws are supposed to solve problems. If the problem has not been solved by one provision, you simply don’t insist because it suits some people.
What about fairness and equity?
Democracy is not about fairness and equity. That is why you people are confused. Democracy is about choice. In making a choice, you don’t talk about equity or fairness. You talk about the perception of the people about those who have the potential to govern.
Now whether they govern them well, if they are lucky, or whether they govern them atrociously, that is their problem. But it is not about equity and fairness. And you people are confusing the issue deliberately.
You in the media also have your own vested interest. Tell me who was denied? Did democracy deny somebody the opportunity to govern. You cannot say that is not fair and that is not equitable.
Look through the American history, for over two hundred years since the foundation of the United States of America, only President Lyndon Johnson came from the south. And it was after the assassination of J F Kennedy in 1963 in Dallas.
Are you saying American democracy is not democracy until the emergence of Johnson to the presidency? Go and do your homework.
If the southeast doesn’t get to produce the president, doesn’t that speak of the political domination T Y Danjuma and Ayo Adebanjo spoke of?
Who does Ayo Adebanjo represent? The leader of Afenifere for the last several years was Chief Reuben Fasaranti. Ayo Adebanjo has never been elected a leader of Afenifere. He is not the leader of Afenifere.
So, if Ayo Adebanjo speaks on behalf of the Yorubas, well anybody can speak on behalf of the Yorubas, I can speak on behalf of Fulanis. But that is a lie. If those who have the mandate to speak on behalf of people, we know them. How many times has Ayo Adebanjo won an election? I don’t believe he can deliver the ballot box in front of his house.
Number two, Gen. Danjuma is not a politician even though he is deeply involved in politics. He has been the one person who has been messing up the politics of Taraba and stirring things up in the middle belt. And we know the people who are also financing CAN, especially the most vicious and most violent form of CAN.
So if he says because the southeast has not been given power, that is unfair, that we are denying them the opportunity, that is interesting. But he fought the Igbos. And I remember Mbakwe telling him, you say you are a Christian, but the one you killed – or the one you arrested and handed over to be killed – didn’t you remember both you and him were Christians?
They are playing with your intelligence because they are reckless enough to want to twist history upside down. If Danjuma is interested in history, his latest interpretation of history, is to say the least, uncharitable. It is not history at all.