The National Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has lampooned two umbrella groups of the North, the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) for their insistence on return of power to the region in 2015.
He was speaking on the backdrop of a press conference in Kaduna on Tuesday by Six northern organisations – Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum, Arewa Reawakening Forum, Arewa Research and Development Project, Northern Union and the Code Group where they insisted that the North must produce the nation’s President in 2015 on the basis of a rotational pact.
Mohammed posited that anyone, who insists on rotation of the presidency at the expense of allowing the electorates choose their leader from any part of the country, is not a democrat.
He further said democracy must be based on credible elections, which must be conducted by impartial, independent and unbiased umpire.
Mohammed, who spoke in an interview with Sunday PUNCH maintained that he was not opposed to the activities of the NEF or ACF provided their goals are achieved in a democratic manner.
“Not everybody who speaks on behalf of the North is actually speaking the heart of the North. When you check the credentials of these people, who are they to speak for the North? How many times have they won any form of election?” he asked.
He took the military regimes of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalami Abubakar to the cleaners because according to him, their administrations added no value to the North despite coming from the region.
He said, “Of what use was IBB’s tenure as Head of State? What benefit did be bring to the North, I want to know? Tell me what he did for the North. If these are the kind of people the North wants to bring to government, they should forget about me. They should excommunicate me and say I’m not a northerner.
“I only want people who are fair, honest and patriotic; who will treat everybody fairly, not because they are northerners. I have seen some honourable governors and I have seen some very horrible governors.”
While picking holes in the zoning formula of the Poeples Democratic Party which was adopted during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mohammed argued that it would be undemocratic to restrict public offices to particular zones in the country.
“Neither Obasanjo nor all those clamouring for return of power to the North are speaking for the North; those who are saying power must go to the North (in 2015) are not democrats. Anybody who insists that power must go to somewhere by circumventing the principle of free and fair election is not a democrat,” he stated.
On the denial of a purported one-term pact signed by President Goodluck Jonathan with the North, especially by his kinsmen, Mohammed said it was wrong for them to speak on behalf of Mr. Jonathan since they were not present when he entered into the agreement.
According to him, the meeting had Mr. Jonathan and governors (some of whom are in their second term) in attendance.
“I was neither the president nor a governor; that shows that I was not present at the meeting. Dr. Edwin Clark and some people who were not governors at that point in time were not at the meeting but they were the ones denying the pact.
“The President has not come out to say no, there was no such thing. But, the governors said there is an agreement. Most of those talking were not part of the meeting and no amount of noise making by anybody will settle the issue,” Mohammed said.