BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
ABUJA — Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaidu Mohammed, yesterday, lambasted the trio of Mohammed Abba-Gana, Ameh Ebute and Lawrence Onoja for asking the North to tarry till 2019 before angling for power shift to the region, calling them political mercenaries.
Mohammed also stated there will be mayhem in Nigeria should President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rig the 2015 election.
It will be recalled that Gana, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and PDP chieftain from Borno State, Ebute, a former senator in aborted third republic from Benue State and Onoja who himself was a soldier and military administrator of Plateau and Katsina states, had made solidarity comments for President Jonathan’s second term in office, asking the north to wait till 2019.
Speaking with Vanguard in a telephone chat, Mohammed, who is also the National Coordinator of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, said Gana, Ebute and Onoja were not speaking for the north but serving their own self-interests to earn themselves a place in Jonathan’s Presidency.
Calling him a political mercenary and sheer minority from the Middle North, Mohammed particularly regretted that Onoja, who had a commendable career in the military and presided over the affairs of two northern states, Plateau and Katsina, could now stoop so low to play politics of tribes and religion.
He said Onoja lacked the temerity to speak for the north, having been a serial loser of elections since he debuted into politics.
He said: “First of all, I have some respect for Onoja, he is a soldier and now trying to be a politician. But I think it’s an insult for people with similar background, opportunity, soldiers who play like mercenaries, as a former Governor of Plateau and Katsina states, who are now rediscovering politics like a business and who can pose or could claim to speak for any part of the country”.
“It is on record that Onaja has contested elections in the past, including the last election we had in 2011 and he lost. In fact, he lost to Senator David Mark, the President of the Senate. So, if Onaja and his likes were to claim to speak for the whole Middle Belt, that in my view is questionable, uncharitable and utter shamelessness.
“For one, even in Benue, the tribes he comes from, the Idomas are minority. The majority ethnic group in Benue is the Tivs who are about 55 percent of the population of Benue State and within the remaining 45 percent, his own tribe constitutes less than 20 percent.
“Even within that, the Idomas are a constellation of so many tribal groups. There are about seven or eight identified tribal groups of the Idomas. So for a man with that background both personally and a group background to claim to speak for the Middle Belt is sheer nonsense.
“What he was referring to, I don’t even have the courage to say it, is the claim by some of the politically ambitious and opportunistic people in the Middle Belt who claim that every northern minority is automatically a Middle Belter.
“They include people from Kebbi, Adamawa and Yobe states, including Borno. So, in effect, what they are saying is that any northerner who is a Christian must be a member of the Middle Belt Forum. And that is sheer nonsense.
“They claim that anybody who is so, so, and so, automatically is so, so, and so, is sheer nonsense. The ACF who is Arewa Consultative Forum claims that every Northerner is automatically a member of ACF.
“If that were to be the case, then, there is no body who is a member of ACF. If everybody is a member of any group, then nobody is a member of that group.
The most valued claim in being a member, it must be done openly. People must go and identify themselves in the group rather than stay on the sideline and talk rubbish.”
Mohammed also took swipe at Gana and Ebute, saying they, like Onoja, displayed religious chauvinism through his recent statement, were all seeking various appointments in Jonathan’s government.
According to Mohammed, the fact that the northern elites hailed from the zone by ‘accident of geography does not make them mouthpiece of the zone.
He stressed that they were doing their “dirty jobs in the Jonathan’s presidency’.
He said: “The fact of the matter is that they are northerners by accident of geography but define their economic interests now, that has been served by identifying and doing their dirty job in the Jonathan Presidency.”
With a voice laced with seriousness, the former lawmaker said there would be mayhem in the country should Jonathan rig his way through in 2015.
”Let me say this, if without the consent of the law, they rig the election the way they rigged 2011 election, there will be mayhem in Nigeria.
“The only way he can be President against the law explicitly is to connive with the way he did with Jega’s INEC to rig the election and that has been the pattern since 1999 when Obasanjo came. It hasn’t changed.
“The only way PDP will win election anywhere is by rigging the election. If they do that in 2015, there will be mayhem in Nigeria,” he warned.