By HENRY UMORU, JOSEPH ERUNKE & LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
LESS than two weeks after his comment that he would lead his people to join the Republic of Cameroon if Nigeria disintegrates generated furore in the polity, the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, again, told southern resource control agitators to be ready to forfeit their land in all parts of the North, especially Abuja, if their aspiration sailed through.
This is even as he warned against granting autonomy to ethnic nationalities in the country.
Speaking yesterday on the inaugural speech of President Goodluck Jonathan to the National Conference, Dr Mustapha, who is at the conference on the platform of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, also said monarchs should be allowed to function the way they are now and should not be given new roles in the new constitution. This is contrary to the views of his colleagues on the matter.
Revocation of Abuja land
He said since some people left the real issue that necessitated the convocation of the conference to drum for resource control, he was going to call for revocation of land in Abuja and some parts of the north from non northerners to their traditional owners, so that the non natives can only pay rents for the structures.
Referring to the conference chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, the Lamido of Adamawa said: “Mr. Chairman, I have observed that some people have started jumping the gun by commenting on issues like resource control, resource ownership, etc.
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 percent 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 rents to those states or the traditional owners of the land, for example, the FCT.”
Commenting on agitation by some people that autonomy be granted ethnic nationalities, Dr Mustapha said: “Yesterday, I heard an ethnic nationality delegate saying that his people are marginalized because a district head was appointed in their area which they don’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, ministers, chairman of local government, etc.
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.”
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for having the courage to convoke the National Conference; saying it was an opportunity for Nigeria to rebrand in line with the wishes of her people.
“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 told us or advised us to be moderate, tolerant, considerate and magnanimous in our discussions.
So, fellow delegates, I will like to advise us to take a queue from Mr. President and not the so called civilized people of the West who always tell us that they have no permanent friends but permanent interests and who advocate same sex marriages.”
At this point, he paused and attacked elder statesmen, Chief Ayo Adabanjo, saying he (Adebanjo) criticized his recent comment while making his own contribution, last Monday by saying: “People like Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who even in his prime age of 86 is still ranting.”
This then generated uproar as some delegates immediately stood up to raise a point of order but the conference chairman, Justice Kutigi did not listen to them even as Dr Mustapha responded: “Why didn’t you call for the point of order when he was castigating me on Monday, last week?”
Knowing that there may be problem among delegates if the point of order was sustained, Kutigi allowed the traditional ruler to continue his presentation to the end.
Dr 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 rules are conventions like the British Constitution and we have been performing them for hundreds of years and in some places, for over 1000 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.”