TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center


By NBF News

Mohammed Alhaji Yakubu, a chieftain of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), is the youth leader of Dr. Olusola Saraki-led Northern Union (NU). He told Daily Sun that his generation has lost confidence in Mallam Adamu Ciroma's Northern People's Leaders' Forum (NPLF). He also spoke on other issues of national interest. Excerpts:

State of the nation
I am not going to speak on behalf of ACF. I am going to speak in my personal capacity, as Mohammed Alhaji Yakubu, a member of the ACF. Talking about the state of the nation, it is very frightening and worrisome. Frightening and worrisome because this is an election year. By this weekend, the first round of elections will take place. But the degree of violence we have witnessed so far is extremely worrisome, and it cuts across all the political parties.

The blame should be placed squarely on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I say so because the whole thing started from the zoning issue. If the zoning crisis was not there, the degree of violence would have been very minimal.

Don't you think what Obasanjo said on zoning should pacify the North or a kind of reassurance that by 2015, it will have it?

There is nothing reassuring from Obasanjo's statement. I am completely disappointed in Obasanjo.  In fact, I see the statement as completely deceptive cowardice, un-statesmanlike and dishonourable of him to have said that. If you recall, during the late Yar'Adua's health challenges, in one of our interviews with your paper then, I said the then President should not resign even on a wheelchair, when Obasanjo asked him to take the path of honour and quit the stage. I said so at that time not because I am in support of the Yar'Adua presidency, but because I felt Obasanjo has no moral right to preach honour and integrity. If he has honour and integrity, he would not have rigged Yar'Adua in as President, in the first instance.

This is a man who was a beneficiary of the zoning system, but later said there was no zoning, only for him to make a u-turn now and he is now saying that the zoning system is still intact. If it is intact, why was it jettisoned or is President Jonathan from the North?

If the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was Yoruba and he died in power, do you think the Yoruba people would have accepted what is happening now? It is not fair, people like him are supposed to stand for the truth, honesty, justice and fairness. But unfortunately, he is not. I am disappointed in him and coming from him again, we should be very careful.

I also heard him talk about Nigeria's unity being very fragile. What did he do during his time to build on the unity of the country? If nothing, he has tried so much to destroy the fragile unity of this country. He is supposed to be in the forefront as  an elder statesman insisting that for the sake of justice and fairness, power must go round all ethnic groups in this country. Nigeria has not grown up to that stage where we can jettison the zoning arrangement.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bayaro Nafada, once said that if the North had been in Jonathan's position, the North too would have wanted to continue. What is your position on that?

I doubt much. Let me tell you from history, the stability of this country since 50 years back has been provided by the North. We have been making all the necessary sacrifices to put the unity of this country on sound footing since independence to the detriment of its own people.

The northern leaders who have led this country since independence are being challenged in the North over this zoning matter. It is not that they are stupid, but they felt that equity and justice should be done and that was what they did for this country. It is from Obasanjo's time that we now realized that all the time, the North had been at the helm of affairs we have been stupid by not unduly taking advantage to help our people.

That sounds strange, because it was not the fault of others that you have neglected your people?

It was Obasanjo that ethinicized leadership of this country. One would have expected him to show fairness and equitability in his conduct and leadership of this country. Unfortunately, he didn't do that and that is why we are where we are now.

Court judgment that excluded five governors from election?

Although the matter is in court, but the court has erred, they are not supposed to exclude these governors from the April elections. If the court is excluding them now, what happens to the time they had spent as governors, the decisions they had made, the resources and the salaries that have been collected? If they are to be excluded, they have to return all the salaries and all the things they have benefitted during that period of their illegal stay in office.

But it is not the fault of these governors, it is the law

That is why I am telling you that the court has erred. They were relying on the Supreme Court judgment that said that the tenure of the governor starts from the day he was sworn in that is in the case of Governor Obi of Anambra State. That, for me, is an entirely different scenario. I would not want to go into too much details about that because it is still in court. But I am not satisfied with the judgment and I am in support of appealing the verdict.

What is your assessment of the Mallam Adamu Ciroma's NPLF on the need to back one candidate from the North?

Some of us, the younger ones, have a problem with that committee. Mallam Ciroma cannot be leading us on one hand and his wife on the other hand is with Jonathan group campaigning for them. We have lost confidence and trust in the leadership of some of our elders, especially, the likes of Ciroma. So, we are now taking it upon ourselves to do what needs to be done.

Why didn't you raise this eyebrow before, why are you raising it now?

I didn't raise it before now because as at the time the consensus issue was going on, Ciroma's wife was not openly campaigning for Jonathan. It was after the consensus arrangement that she came out openly to campaign for Jonathan and this is not even the culture of the North. You follow your husband to wherever he goes. If she is not prepared to follow him, Ciroma should divorce her.

But that is purely a matrimonial issue
Yes, that is the kind of culture and leadership the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto taught us. That was why the late Premier was killed with his wife. If I am in his shoes, that is what I will do if she refuses to follow the people I am leading, I will ask her to go her way.

Have you made this protest known formally to him before?

I don't need to make it known. I am telling you now because you asked me that question.

What would you do if the woman does not quit the Jonathan camp?

That is Ciroma's business, his integrity and honour is on the line among us the younger ones.

Professor Chief Emeka Anyaoku was quoted to have said that of the 19million voters in the North-West, over six million are Igbos, do you agree with him?

If he says over six millions are Igbo, the nine million registered voters in the South-East, how many of them are northerners? And the over nine million from the South-South, how many are northerners that are residing there? By the time we remove and add, it has balanced if that is what he is saying.

But having said that, I will implore some of our leaders not to make inflammatory statements that will result to uncontrollable violence. Part of the problem we are having now is because of the way the PDP conducted its presidential primaries, vis-à-vis, the pattern of voting. These are some of the things that have angered the North.

The entire South voted for Jonathan, does that means that the North are stupid for some of them to have voted for Jonathan? You know, they are just telling us that we don't know what we are doing.