Femi Fani-Kayode: National Conference and the explosive words of Dr Junaid Mohammed




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According to the June 10th edition of the Punch Newspaper, in a story titled ”Ethnic Suspicions Haunt National Conference”, the Convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, who is a delegate at the National Conference representing Kano State, said he still did not believe the conference would make any difference. He dared the southern delegates to do their best, saying resource control would not be approved by the conference no matter how hard they tried. The following are his exact words:

“Every issue that has been canvassed for holding the conference has been found to be false. The issues canvassed are agitation by some people sponsored by the Presidency. Whether it is true federalism or true fiscal federalism, none of them has materialised. Those who agitated for the conference should tell us why their darling National Conference has not produced true federalism. We’ll meet at the conference; let’s see how the argument on resource control would go. The one we had in my committee, the Committee on Devolution of Power was knocked off by me and it was declared unconstitutional. RESOURCE CONTROL IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AS LONG AS WE (NORTHERNERS) ARE PART OF NIGERIA”.

Junaid speaks for many in the north and the implications of his submission are obvious and far reaching. Particularly those contained in the last sentence about resource control not ever happening unless the north agrees. I say this because most of the southern delegates had said they looked forward to the conference recommending a restructuring of the country and establishing a true federalism that would be characterised by regional autonomy, resource control, state police, among other changes.

Yet their northern counterparts wanted the status quo to remain in terms of the country’s governance structure. They also sought for an increase in revenue allocations from the Federal Government to the states in the North.

Going by these diametrically opposing positions and those specially presented by different blocs like the North, the South-West, and the South-South, the recommendation of the committees seem to favour the North more than the South.

The import of Junaid Mohammed’s revealing and instructive words surely cannot be lost on even the dullest and slow in learning amongst us. I thank him for those words because, unlike others, he has displayed the courage of his convictions.

He has been brutally frank and honest about the whole thing and about the existing situation and I commend him for that. Simply put he has said that nothing can change in terms of the constitutional structure of Nigeria unless the north agrees to it regardless of how everyone else feels or what their collective aspirations may be.

I feel vindicated because I told Nigerians all this well before the conference started a few weeks back. As a matter of fact I have been saying the same thing ever since the annulement of Chief MKO Abiola’s June 12th election in 1993.

Right from the beginning I knew that the latest national conference which was put in place by the Jonathan administration, just like all other constitutional conferences that came before it, could not possibly bring any real and fundamental change and was nothing but an exercise in futility and a waste of time and money.

The bitter truth is that Nigeria cannot and will not enjoy any form of deep and meaningful fundamental constitutional change and she will not be restructured or be broken up by peaceful means, negotiation or any long-winded constitutional conference.

It can only be restructured or broken by the force of arms and fire. If you really want the country to be restructured or you want Oduduwa Republic or Biafra you better be ready to pay the price for it and that price will include plenty of violence and blood.

Now this is not a call to arms because personally I deplore the use of violence and the shedding of human blood under any circumstances. I am not declaring war on anyone but simply making an observation and a statement of fact. Take it or leave it.

Those that believe that they own Nigeria and all that is in her have made it so. It is left for the rest of us to determine our fate: do we wish to continue like this, in utter bondage and servitude for the next 100 years in a land where a bunch of desperate, unlettered and uncouth haramites have the power of veto, the right to thwart our will and the guts to slaughter our people?