North'll retain Abuja if Nigeria breaks up says Junaid Mohammed
In the concluding part of this interview with a Russian trained medical doctor and political radical, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, he reiterated the North's e readiness for National Conference. He also responds to the issues of Nigeria's federalism that have recently dogged the polity. Excerpts:
Appointment with Enahoro
To show how serious I am, I booked an appointment with Chief Anthony Enahoro through a young man called Shettima, I flew down to Lagos for two days and I realized that everything that we have said about them concerning the SNC was true.
And Anthony Enahoro himself knew that was the agenda but he did not have the courage to come out and say it.
I also conducted a research and realized that the idea of SNC has not worked in some African countries like Benin Republic, Niger Republic, DR Congo and Republic of Congo. And in our country, SNC is presented corruptly and fraudulently by the people here in Lagos as if once you have the SNC all our problems will be solved.
Your revenue problems will be solved, all Nigerians will love themselves, those who are exploiting the North and other problems will disappear and Nigeria will be like paradise. Forget what all these people are saying. We found out that all the countries where SNC were conducted, after that there was political instability leading to Coup d'Ã©tat and not once, not twice.
In fact in DR Congo, there was not only coup but a violent revolution with Joseph Kabila from the North coming to Kinshasa to take over power. So where is the argument of stability? So, these Lagos people agitating for SNC are doing so in their own interest. After the demise of Anthony Enahoro, they went to look for Pat Utomi to champion SNC. The same Pat Utomi went to Kano and made some contentious remarks on Maitama Sule that among all Nigerians, it is only Lagosians that are not tribalistic.
Why, because they made him chairman of poverty alleviation in Lagos. I disagree with that. First and foremost, I was alive when a gentleman called Professor Eni Njoku was Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos which was a federal institution, not Lagos State Government-owned or South-West-owned. He was sent out of office not because he did anything wrong but because he is a non-Yoruba person.
So will the North participate if SNC is convened?
I am telling you that the issue of North against the National Conference is over; we now say we are ready anytime the conference is convened. In fact we said clearly that in the event Nigeria breaks up, the North will remain one and Abuja will remain our capital. In any situation, we are viable are tired of being insulted. But before the break up will happen, we want to be there at the Sovereign National Conference.
We should not be taken for a ride and we have removed the roadblock and declared that we will participate.
Now that they are calling for SNC, let the South -South people who are now in power cede power. The president should resign, and the Senate leadership should resign up to Supreme Court before we hold the National Conference because that is what it is. There can be no institution standing if you are convening SNC, and these half-baked literate people now want to change the thing to People's National Conference.
We believe that once you decide to lead the people, you have to be truthful. We are ready for the conference but we really want to know who is who. Is it Ben Nwabueze representing his Igbo people in Lagos or Pat Utomi representing Delta State or where? So these are the major questions left un-answered.
Taking you back to the derivation question, why is North against derivation given that the South-South lays the golden egg and suffers the hazards of the oil exploration? The argument is what does the North have to put on table or will the North share out of the hazards caused by the pollution in the Niger-Delta?
First and foremost, they do not lay any egg, golden or silver. This oil was put there by Almighty God and it is not like farming. So, the metaphor of laying an egg is arrant nonsense. The correct position and what should be considered is what should be done based on the physical, material and massive damage?
This brought up NDDC, OMPADEC and so called Niger Delta Ministry to compensate materially those, who are affected by oil exploration and it is directly from Decree No 23 of 1992. I agree whatever the compensation is, it is not enough. I also learnt from Nigerian politics and during my work in Port-Harcourt that the people of Niger Delta will not be able to develop that area, it will be the whole of Nigeria doing that job.
I also agree that Northern elites alone will not be able to eradicate the poverty and insecurity in the North due to Boko Haram. The elites in the North and the South-South have no credibility, in fact they make life hard for the people of the areas. So, that is the responsibility of a responsible Federal Government. When I look at the people making noise about this ecological problem, none of them knows the area better than I do because I did not stay in Port-Harcourt in an air-conditioned house, I went round by boats and helicopters and I challenge anybody in Niger-Delta, who says he knows the place more than I do to come.
When we took over then, Rivers and Delta states produced 55 percent of the oil. When we arrived, we found out that 95 percent of the contracts were abandoned in Rivers, I was the one who took care of those contracts because some of the contractors took money and ran away and it was some of these Niger Delta elites that took money and ran away.
Then, if you get a contract of N200 million from OMPADEC, they pay you 80 percent up-front for mobilization. This place in Bayelsa State where the army cleared, Odi, the roads in that place were awarded before our arrival and I took over and ensured that the project was completed. So, people through the pages of newspapers are being misled. What is worrisome is that the people talking about derivation have no view on the issue.
The only state in the South-West that produces marginal oil is Ondo State. Are you telling me that they are not concerned about the percentage of derivation?. They are concerned but have refused to discuss it, they felt if the thing comes, good, if not, no problems.
Who are the people behind the collapse of banks in Nigeria and how many Northerners are there and who is fooling who? If you don't have wealth, you don't know what it means to be wealthy. The Northerners have never had wealth, also Northerners have been in power for long to empower the zone, but the lousy Generals never did anything. Do you know that majority of the real bunkerers, some of them are from the North? Northern Generals are behind some of those things.
Or will you say because I am from the North, I should not slam bunkering? Some of them are friends of past government and this present government of Dr Goodluck Jonathan. One thing I want people to know is that the group that I lead is pro-Nigeria and not pro-North and you will never see me defend a corrupt Northern elder in my political life of about 40 years.