FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
ifeanyi_mmoh@yahoo.com
Jos, Nigeria
ON DR. JUNAID MOHAMMED: WHY URGE THE MUSLIM TO EMBRACE PEACE?

eed we always urge the average Muslim from the north to embrace peace every time the opportunity to speak opened? Are they so dumb or illiterate to not have realized the economic value of peace to any people that they should be reminded of peace all the time? Assume they were, how long then do we think we can go on reminding them?

I have followed thereactions to Dr. Junaid’s unpalatable comment on IPOB and the President Buhari’strip to Japan; many of which are direct, rebuking and critical. And I havedecided to add my voice to what’s been trending so far. Over the years, I havegrown to observe that the Hausas and recently the Fulanis of the north haveused violence as a weapon of asserting self even when it is constitutionally orlegally untenable to do so.

They have made it to looklike no one else but they had the monopoly to wield aggression. If one shouldgo by the recent comments credited to Dr. Junaid Mohammed, it’ll be practicallyimpossible to not question his audacity to say that “IPOB will pay with theirblood if they attempt an attack on Buhari.” Why are elders like Junaid Mohammedso daft and myopic?

Is it not appropriate toreact in the manner that IPOB was going when so-called elders failed to do theneedful? Since the attack on Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany –which my humble self considers very appropriate for him – the political classhas suddenly become so jittery. But who had cared to hear the grievances ofthese youth? Who had bothered to listen? Or do we all think that things will continuethe way they are; that if you can’t beat status quo you join?

The point is: why shouldn’tthe youth be angry at the system when it’s clearly against their interest? Ifthe politicians had kept faith with the citizens who sent them for representation,would there have been an IPOB? Or the bandits? Or kidnapping? If the leadershad done the needful by making a conscious effort to be seen doing all within itspowers to foster unity and strengthen national cohesion; would there have been acause for fear?

Leaders like Dr. Junaid inthe north mostly seek relevance when it comes to making threats and stirringtheir mostly illiterate, ignorant and backward subjects to do same. But when itcomes to contributing to the economic growth of the region and by extension,Nigeria they prefer to pillage the states to fund Dubai, the UK and the US.

Quantify the amount ofmoney that has so far gone into the northeast misfortunes(?) and ask yourselfhow sustainable that was if Nigeria had no oil and since the northeast as awhole gave almost nothing but ‘votes’ to foist an inept federal government onthe federation. So if Nigeria still tastes like honey to Dr. Mohammed; itcertainly does not for many others and this is why attempts are been made onhighly placed individuals today. I am NOT an IPOB member and will never be butI think that what should bother us more was dealing with how Nigeria got intothis mess instead of making threats.

The interaction of thisadministration with her citizen falls short of democratic practice. How asensible government could clamp peaceful protesters into detention but thenallow room for dialogue with bandits, militia men and killer-herdsmen, many ofwhom are not even Nigerians is still fairy tale to contemporary observers. Perhaps,Dr. Junaid Mohammed is yet to understand the philosophers’ quote that says:when impunity becomes law; mass revolt becomes a duty. Clearly, these aberrationsare still not sufficient enough reasons for apologists like him to speak truthto power even if it was to save face and old age.

I am really ashamed forthis generation of failures who parade themselves as elder statesmen. Whenelder statesmen like the Late Nelson Mandela busied himself with making adocumentary of the Anti-apartheid struggle for the coming generation tounderstand what it all meant once he attained the age 70; his counterpart herestill muddled themselves in murky waters just so they can cling to ethnicsupremacy or religious eminence.

And in all these; it amazesme that they continued to feed on oil instead of reviving their region throughagriculture to compliment proceeds from oil. It amazes me that after the threatthey quite shamefully continued to depend on a monthly allocation that isgenerated from proceeds of crude oil sales. In all this, I still marveled attheir high tolerance rate for illiteracy, street begging and lack of familyplanning. But these are people who claim to love the north.

While no one applauds orwill ever applaud an attempt on the president because such would only amount tobarbarism; it is important to straighten issues and to be able to call a spadea spade. Not too long ago, the EFCC uncovered mind-boggling sums of money informer governor Abdulaziz Yari’s bank account. These are the people who createdthe monster called Insecurity today.

If such monies weredeployed to send street urchin and their business of begging off the streets;Nigeria would certainly be safer. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s claims of innocencewhile as governor of Abia state has not explained why thousands of youth in Abiaare running into the IPOB movement. If he had encouraged Prof. Barth Nnaji onthe power station for Aba; more than half of those youths would’ve beenengaged.

That said, the issue offolks using their positions as religious bigwigs to make threats is downright condemnable.It makes one sad, every time the average Muslim in this country was reminded toembrace peace. I ask again: Need we always urge the average Muslim from thenorth to embrace peace every time the opportunity to speak opened? Are they sodumb or illiterate to not have realized the economic value of peace?

For a Nigerian to issuethreats on another Nigerian over an attempt-to-attack on Nigeria’s presidentonly seems to pass one signal and which is: that the president belonged to themmore than he belonged to the federation of Nigeria. In other words, since thepresident is a Muslim and Dr. Junaid himself equally a Muslim; any attempt onthe life of the president was an attack on the Muslim nation and not an attackon Nigeria.

How preposterous? Thosebeating the drums of war should spare Nigeria the pains of prosecuting such awar. It is not a hidden fact that up till now, this federation has not trulyrecovered from the events of 1966 to 1970. The Hausa and Fulani has organizedpower to the exclusion of the Igbo (perhaps, to punish them thoroughly); buthow much progress have they recorded since then.

The same region that heldpower for ages is still and will remain the poorest of the federation. The sameregion that controls the security apparatus of the federation cannot make itselfsecure or peaceful. The same region that hardly pays anything tribute to thecoffers of the federation still suffered infrastructural incapacitation. Even ifpower was given to the north by Britain; wisdom was required for that power tobe profitable.

Obviously, the north lacksthe wisdom to tap into the potentials of this power. It does not understandthat the best way to keep power was to devolve it. It does not understand thatthe best way to make progress was to enable others to make progress. This iswhy haven used religion to drive off every potential investor from its region; itis now devouring itself with Boko Haram and the ilk.

The power has not profitedthem and they do not want it to profit another. The British must have beenwicked to hand power and not explain how that power can be profitable. Have younot wondered why the electronic you purchased carried a manual with it? Powerwas given by the Britons but it did not come with the manual to use it. Thefederation even leaked the manual so to speak by making the case forrestructuring. But Dr. Junaid Mohammed and his north wouldhear none of that.

Do not forget also that thecivil war – which has been blamed solely on the Late Biafran leader’sautocratic attitude – was fought because Mr. Gowon and his clique reneged onthe Aburi Agreement which proposed devolution of powers! Truth is that I haveleft this kind of writing (for some time now) to concentrate my life onsomething more fulfilling because I always marveled even as a youth how shallow-mindedcertain so-called statesmen sounded whenever they talked.

At times it gets methinking if the north thought that folks from the south are some joke or maybeeven livestock that needed only to obey and follow its shepherd. Dr. Junaid isone of such whose mindset is unforgivably sectional. I couldn’t just hindermyself from reacting to his inappropriate comments. Only a fool would’ve spokenin that manner.

In conclusion, I’d like toask this man – Dr. Mohammed – to share with Nigerians any memoir (if he has one)on how he brought up his children particularly if there were times when a childwanted to become an engineer or an actor but was forced against will to take tothe profession of his father. Nigerians would like to know how this man handledsuch crisis and, believe me whatever he shares can tell us if he is diplomatic ora tyrant.

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