Mr Akin Osuntokun, a former political adviser to erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo, responds to Prof Joseph’s interview:

I try to refrain from commenting on a forum like this for two reasons. First, I write a weekly column for Thisday newspaper prominently displayed on the backpage every Friday-it provides a regular opportunity to pour out my thoughts. Second is the fact that i advertise myself as a member of the pdp and a supporter of President Jonathan. Respondents to my interventions find it difficult to resist the temptation to predicate their rejoinders on this identification.

The individual who interviewed Professor Joseph – whether deliberately or inadvertently – asked some quite biased and leading questions. I will limit myself to the most tendentious-which was to tie the resolution of the Boko Haram to the prescription of a ‘northerner’ replacing Jonathan via the coming elections. Joseph himself had partly made the point I would have included in my response – which is the fact that the evidence of the predominance of northerners at the highest level of governance in the history of Nigeria does not support the suggestion that a northerner is better placed to address the problems of the region.

The aspect I find curious is the suggestion that terrorism should compel the concession of political power. The argument over the vexed issue of zoning and power rotation is far more complex and complicated than the casual inference and deference of the interviewer seem to suggest. I don’ t believe it is wise for Nigeria to accept and defer to the instrumentality of terror in seeking political power. And it is this kind of suggestion that has radicalized supporters and even non-supporters of Jonathan (outside the Muslim North region) against the possibility of a regional displacement in 2015.


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