Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:02 pm
Aminu Mohammed, National President of Northern Youth Consultative Forum, in this interview with FEMI ADI speaks on the National Conference, insecurity in the North and why northern youth will not vote for President Jonathan in 2015
Do you see the confab tackling the issues those of you from the North clamoured for?
In respect of this confab, our position as northern youth is that, it is irrelevant at this particular time. We believe it is a political strategy to divert the attention of Nigerians from the real issues of insecurity and economy. I don’t see any sense of reality about the on-going confab. In the first place, some of us have questioned the constitutionality of the confab. Secondly, the composition of the confab shows that the so-called elders who were responsible for the problems we found ourselves in today are the ones selected to discuss and decide our future. It is unfortunate, in this jet age, the President is inviting old men to discuss critical matters concerning the country. I just believe that they are not ready. The confab is not taking care of the interest of the youth and so will not add any value to our lives. When the Sardauna [Ahmadu Bello] he was in power, people enjoyed the best of economy and chances .But ask those he left behind, what have they done to better our lot? Nothing tangible. What we see is greed and wanton embezzlement and gross mismanagement of our little resources. If our present leaders had put in place something reasonable, now nobody would even be calling for confab.
There are notions that the insecurity in the north is an arrangement to frustrate Jonathan’s government, possibly because the North wants power by all means. What is your reaction to this?
It is obvious that what is happening is an arrangement to shortchange the North from even participating in 2015 elections. Already they’ve started saying that elections might not hold in three affected states. And we don’t know how many more states will come up with attacks between now and December. So, this is just to tell you people that nobody is against Jonathan; the North voted for Jonathan. The people he’s accusing today manipulated elections for him to be in power. It is very unfortunate that Jonathan will now say that one governor did not give delegates money. EFCC and ICPC are supposed to take the matter very seriously; what it means is that he gave bribe. But we are waiting for him should he declare to run in the 2015 election. If he does, we would show him what the northerners are not.
But with the Tanko Yakasai-led Northern Elders Council rooting for President Jonathan, do you think your threat not to vote him can hold water?
They are the same group of elders that have failed the North. If the North is backward they plunged it into the problems we are facing now. They are greedy, selfish and corrupt. So, if you are talking about people like Tanko Yakasai, we see him as an irresponsible leader. If Cardinal Olubumi Okogie is qualified to be the president of this country and we know that he will carry everybody along, we’ll vote for him as northern youth. We are not talking about any ethnic, religious or regional affiliation; what we are after is somebody that will give us good governance and good leadership.
Should Jonathan emerge as the flag bearer during the primary of PDP, what would the northern youth do?
We have the option to vote him out. There are other people coming out, not only Jonathan. PDP is not the only political party in Nigeria. You see, the problem we have is that we have taken PDP to be the alpha and omega of political parties in Nigeria. We don’t look at who’s competent. These politicians use PDP to galvanise themselves to power and nobody is doing anything about this. If PDP under Jonathan can not do anything to better our lot, we should forget sentiment and vote him out.
Do you agree with the prediction of USA that Nigeria might cease to exist as a country?
Forget about any prediction,Nigeria will remain one entity.
When you have good number of northerners in Jonathan’s government today, don’t you think you should blame those representing you in government and not Jonathan?
No. If there is anyone to blame, it should be Jonathan. You don’t expect subordinates to decide for the region. If Jonathan is sincere, he should ask those in government what to do for the teeming unemployed youth in the North. We hold Jonathan responsible for the woes of the North.
You have northerners in top positions as the Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives and Defence Minister, yet you are saying Jonathan is responsible for North’s woes?
Those people you are talking are people that have failed the North. They are the ones that not only mortgaged but also conspired to sell the North out. I remember in 2011 there was speculation that our emirs collected monies from Jonathan. Wahallai, it will not happen in 2015 .Anybody that collects money from Jonathan will have himself to blame. Anybody that thinks of rigging elections will incur the anger of the youth. I’m very sorry; Jega failed us as INEC chairman.
Why did you say Jega has failed the North?
Jonathan didn’t win the 2011 election but the INEC chairman declared him winner of the election. And that was why there were series of protest in the North over the results he declared.
Even with Jega’s credible background?
He doesn’t have any credible background. He was credible because he was not given any political appointment. But now that he controls billions in an account, he has sold his conscience. And so we don’t expect any credible elections come 2015.
So, who are those people you think in the North can represent you in government.
There people, intelligent youth between the ages of 35 and 55 that have been tested and proved to be good leaders from the north.
Let us have names of those in your organisation; people you can back for political positions.
We have credible people like Rab’iu Musa Kwankwaso; you cannot say Rabiu has not done well. Go to Gombe, you will see Dankwanbo in action. These are young men coming up, between the 48-51-year age bracket and downward. These are the kind of people that need to take over the leadership of this country. We’ve seen the likes of Governor Abdulfatah of Kwara, who has taken time to consider improving the economy of Kwara in recent times. Kogi Governor, Idris Wada is doing excellent work.
Why didn’t you mention the Vice-President, who is the number one northerner in government?
What has he done for us? When Atiku was vice-president, we knew what he did. But tell me what Namadi has done to better the lot of northerners. He’s the number one man in government, but does he even know what he’s doing there as a northerner? Did he have an agenda before he went there? These are some of the questions people should ask him.