WHEN was the last time you read or heard Dr. Junaidu Mohammed making constructive points in the media? He calls himself the “convener” of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen (CNPAPB). When was the last time you heard him addressing Northern politicians on the need to be peaceful, democratic and people-oriented, always putting the interest of the nation above selfish pursuits?
When was the last time he gathered young Arewa professionals, proffered antidotes to the continued rating of the North as the most educationally backward section of Nigeria, or gave tips on how they can be more competitive among their peers?
He was one of those vibrant young “radicals” of the Kano axis, which included Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and Alhaji Sule Lamido. They paid for their “radicalism” with frequent brushes with state security agencies. Rimi was given the longest jail sentence by Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s Gestapo regime (300 years), while Lamido was detained along with Rimi by General Sani Abacha for refusing to endorse his self-succession agenda in 1998. Rimi continued his struggle to become president of Nigeria till he died after a robbery attack on April 4th 2010.For that matter, when was the last time Dr. Junaidu Mohammed was a member or chieftain of a political party, working assiduously to bring about good governance in the North and Nigeria? The last time I saw him playing some positive role in our politics was about 35 years ago, when I was still in secondary school. He was then in his middle thirties; articulate and always sharply attired. He seemed to have a bright future as a leader in Mallam Aminu Kano’s political stable which fought for the downtrodden.
Sule Lamido went on to become Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government in 1999; a post he held for six years. Later, he became the Governor of Jigawa State. In that position Lamido laboured to reunite the Aminu Kano political family. He even built monuments in the Aminu Kano Triangle in Dutse in honour of the founders of that movement and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But what became of the third man among the trio, Junaidu Mohammed? To return to the limelight after years of silence, he became a hate evangelist. He is a noisy member of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) and “convener” of CNPAPB. He, like Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former university vice chancellor, purports to fight for Northern “interests”. When you listen to the things that these gentlemen say for public consumption, you will realise that education does not necessarily, automatically civilise everyone. Many people pass through the “four walls” of a university without the “four walls” passing through them. Mind you, Junaidu Mohammed is a Soviet-trained medical doctor!
His recent outing in a national daily where he made a really saddening reaction to Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife’s complaint over President Muhammadu Buhari’s exclusion of the South East in appointments so far made, has become typical of Junaidu Mohammed. Rather than address the issues raised by Ezeife, Junaidu chose to sabre-rattle. He self-servingly editorialised on issues that led to the civil war. He said Buhari owes the Igbo people “nothing” and that: “if the Igbos don’t like it they can attempt secession again. If they do, they must be prepared to live with the consequences”.
That is Junaidu Mohammed’s irresponsible retort to a legitimate claim by a section of the country of their constitutional right to be included in the governance of their country. How does that offend the “Northern interest” to warrant Junaidu Mohammed’s latest acts of buccal terror?
The truth of our history is that Igbos once wanted to secede from a country in which they felt unsafe due to the pogroms in the North after the first coup of 1966. It was not Hausa/Fulani Arewa that stopped Biafra’s secession. It was the entire country aided by our former colonial master, Britain and other superpowers that did. Junaidu should stop his empty boasts of North’s Igbo conquest because it has never happened.
The rampant acts of cowardice and killings of non-indigenes in Arewa North (with Igbos often targeted because they are not Muslims) are nothing to boast of. It does not happen in any other part of Nigeria or even Muslim West Africa. It is a demonstration of shameful barbarism, not bravery. Killing of defenceless non-indigenes is a principal reason the North is backward and unstable.
Nigeria stopped Biafra. Nigeria was stopping Boko Haram under President Jonathan with General Azubuike Ihejirika as Army Chief but people like Junaidu Mohammed started wailing about “depopulation of the North” by the Nigerian Army.
Even when an Igbo becomes the president of Nigeria, he will lead our troops against any second secession attempt by Biafran activists. This is the logic propelling President Buhari to end Boko Haram in record time. It is a constitutional duty of a Nigerian president. “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must done” is our national mantra, not that of Junaidu Mohammed’s Arewa. Don’t get it twisted!
It is a shame and pity that Junaidu Mohammed, as a young man, held great promises but has chosen to age disgracefully. His mission appears aimed at transferring the enmity of 45 years ago to innocent Igbo and Arewa youth of today, so that they can continue to fight and kill one another long after Junaidu and his cohorts had expired from this mortal plane.
But we are consoled by the fact that for every Ango Abdullahi, there are a dozen Shehu Shagaris, Ibrahim Babangidas, Abdulsalami Abubakars, Umaru Yar’ Aduas, Tanko Yakassais, Sule Lamidos: all of them Northern Muslims and Fulanis whose exemplary nationalism and patriotism helps to re-healed the old wounds that the Junaidus, Angos and other Arewa prebendarians frequently scrape open in their misguided pursuit of “Northern interests”.
No matter what Buhari does, or whom he chooses to listen to, Igbo people will be fine. They always are.