Barely two weeks after he stoked the flames of disintegration at the ongoing National Conference, the Lamido of Adamawa, His Royal Highness, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, again on Tuesday stirred the bees’ hornets when he gave what seems like a stringent condition for 100 per cent resource control.
The royal father, who kicked against assigning traditional rulers any roles in the constitution, also opposed autonomy for ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, saying it would give room for many outrageous demands.
In a veiled reference to the oil producing states that have been agitating for resource control, Mustapha said they should be ready to lose their lands in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in what he called ‘land resource’.
He said, “Mr. Chairman, I have observed that some people have started jumping the gun by commenting on issues like resource control, resource ownership and many other agitations. In this case, let me also jump the gun to say that states which don’t have oil should allow the states which have oil to take a 100 per cent oil revenue and states which don’t have oil should take land resource.
“That means ownership of land should revert to those states and anybody who wants to use the land or the structures in the land must pay rent to those states or the traditional owners of the land, for example, the FCT”.
Mustapha, who is in the confab as a delegate representing traditional rulers, also tongue-lashed a delegate from the South-West, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who he fell short of describing as acting like a child even in old age.
He said, “Mr. Chairman, speakers after speakers have said almost everything I intended to say about the President’s inaugural address. Therefore, I will just commend Mr. President for convoking this conference. In his address, he almost exactly laid down our problems and challenges and he went ahead and advised us to be moderate, tolerant, considerate and magnanimous in our discussions.
“So, fellow delegates, I will like to advise us to take a cue from Mr. President and not the so-called civilised people of the South-West who always tell us that they have no permanent friends but permanent interests and who advocate same sex marriages and people like Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who even in his prime age of 86 is still ranting”.
Expectedly, there were shouts of “point of order” raised by some delegates.
But the monarch, who has become known for sticking to his guns even in the face of mounting opposition, retorted and said, “Why didn’t you call for the point of order when he was castigating me on Monday, last week?”
His victim, Adebanjo, kept his cool.
On the clamour for a constitutional role for traditional rulers, Mustapha said: “Mr. Chairman, but for traditional rulers, I don’t support the idea or the opinion to give us any role in the constitution. Our roles are conventions like the British Constitution and we have been performing them for hundreds of years and in some places, for over 1,000 years.
“What traditional rulers in Nigeria want is recognition. So, I am pleading with this conference to please include in the next constitution, a provision which will provide for the National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, whose leadership will be three traditional rulers from each state, including the president of the traditional rulers council of that state.
“Yesterday (Monday), I heard the ethnic nationality delegate saying that his people are marginalised because a district head was appointed in their area which they didn’t support. Mr Chairman, we shouldn’t listen to these ethnic chauvinists, because if we agree with their arguments, we will end up in a situation in Nigeria where every ethnic group will demand for the next President, governors, office, areas, emirs, obas, minister, chairmen of local government and many others.
“So, Mr. President, we better thank God that the major tribes in Nigeria are tolerant, considerate and magnanimous; otherwise, we would have found ourselves in a different situation in Nigeria today”.