Yorubas Won’t Form Alliance With Igbos On 2023 Presidency – Junaid Mohammed
Junaid Mohammed, elder statesman and Second Republic House of Representatives member, in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on factors that will shape the 2023 presidential election and other issues. Excerpts:
Do you think the coming together of the South can help the region in securing the Presidency in 2023 against the North?
First and foremost, what came out of the gang-ups in previous elections? Also, when talking about the South, is the South only Igboland? Are there no other people in the South? Are the Yorubas not part of the South? So what makes you think that in this day and age and given our history, Yorubas will join with the Igbos in the name of the South or southern solidarity? Anyway, the neighbours to the Igbos are the people from the South- South. Apart from money, have they been able to hold themselves together in order to deliver a President? They have not been able to do that. It is up to the political leaders to see what can be done and do what they are supposed to do. But if somebody from the South decides to come forward and contest the presidency, can you prevent him? I know some of my friends who are interested in the Presidency. If they consult me, I will ask them to go ahead even though I haven’t seen any Igbo man who I will endorse for now.
Why won’t you endorse an Igbo man?
I will not endorse an Igbo man because all the people who are pretending are not serious and they have the history of being part and parcel of the family that caused the civil war. Are you telling me because John Nwodo is the president of Ohanaeze I should ask people to vote for him? I will not. He came all the way from Enugu with a delegation and we had a meeting in a house not very far from my house, I think it is the house of a former governor of Kaduna state, Lawal Jafaru Isa. We had a meeting there in which John Nwodo went on his knees begging us to make him President. We laughed at him. In our culture, you don’t come here and say you people should make me this or that. We allow people to point at you and say you are good to occupy certain positions. Being a president is not a question of begging people. You also have a lot of people saying it is my time. My time, my foot. Whose time is it? We are sovereign people, we are independent and we have the right to vote for whoever we want to vote for. So, how can anyone come and tell me it is the turn of the Igbos? Igbo turn, my foot. We have to concentrate on electing good people. Unfortunately, we are yet to attain that level of political maturity. Anyway, we have seen how people who were given the privilege to be in that position had performed. If in a free and fair election, any president emerges, that is fine but I don’t see that happening in the current situation where some expired, old men will be asking Nigerians to vote based on ethnic and religious basis. How can somebody who is over 90 years old will be telling young Nigerians how to vote and who to vote for.During their time, why didn’t they have that system and why didn’t they vote like that?
Afenifere has said it will be unfair to deny Igbos the presidency in 2023. Chief Ayo Adebanjo in a recent interview said denying Igbos the presidency in 2023 may affect Nigeria’s unity. What is your take on that?
So who is denying them the Presidency? Afenifere’s statement is irresponsible and mischief. Which Afenifere are we talking about because there are several factions of them. Ayo Adebanjo has never been elected as the leader of Afenifere so he cannot speak for the group. The President of Afenifere is Chief Reuben Fasoranti. So, on whose behalf is Ayo Adebanjo speaking? How many times has he won election in his constituency? Who does he represent? There is another joker they now called the leader of the Yorubas, the successor to Awolowo, Professor Banji Akintoye. Who does he represent? Is he representing the Yoruba race? Have you seen anybody talking about the Yoruba race and they mention the name of Banji Akintoye?. Even if he is the leader of the Yorubas, will he just go and tell the Yorubas vote this or vote that? If you go to a newspaper and publish your pictures, that doesn’t make you a leader of the Yoruba race.
If there is going to be President from the South, most likely it will be a Yoruba man. Will the Yorubas take the presidency now and hand it over to Igbos in the name of gestures? Tell me the Igbo man today who can govern Nigeria. Will you bring this scoundrel from IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and make him the President of Nigeria or will you bring the crooks in Ohanaeze and make them president? People are just talking nonsense on the pages of newspapers.