....says foreign observers lied
In this highly celebrated interview, top medical doctor and
one of Nigeria’s straight-talking and fearless politicians,
Dr. Junaid Mohammed broke grounds in speaking
his mind on myriad national issues. He spoke on elections in
Nigeria, on power rotation, on deals made between the North
and South before Independence in 1960, on conditions for
national unity, on the way forward for Nigeria, and so on.
Below are excerpts as compiled by Amanze Ajoku
from agency reports.
Did you, by chance, listen to the President’s October 1
No; I didn’t bother.
It’s owing to a number of reasons. One, you have to believe
in the legitimacy of a government and a leader before you
really spare time to listen to what he has to say. If you
believe, as I do, that this government is entirely
illegitimate, as it came as a result of rigging; that is why
I did not bother to listen to his speech.
It is surprising to hear you say that the government is
illegitimate when observers, both local and international,
adjudged the 2011 general elections as one of our best so
far. What, therefore, is the basis for your conclusions?
Well, first and foremost, you have to be privileged to
witness more than one election before you adjudge one as one
of the best so far. Many of the observers that you are
trying to talk about were never present in the previous
elections in Nigeria; so, how can you say, on the basis of
what they have told you that election was the best we have
had in this country? In the first place, who is the best
judge of free and fair election among the foreign observers,
who came here for one week or two and the people of Nigeria,
who are here? I have been a participant in this game long
before Goodluck or anybody who is in government today and
I can tell you that (2011) election we had was the worst
in the history of this country. And no matter what
the Americans, the British, the Europeans or the EU says or
anybody else, I know, in my own lifetime, there was no
election that was as bad as the last 2011 elections. So,
take my word for it.
Why should I take your word when other notably Nigerians
have also adjudged the election as one of our bests?
Well, it will interest you to know that I am first, a
political leader of a national party, registered by INEC,
PSP; I have been a participant in politics. I have led
parties that have won elections in Nigeria. I have observed
elections in other countries, not only in Africa, but also
in other parts of the world. Am telling you that the
observers were nothing but sham. The assessment was a
disgrace. If you bother to look at what was behind their own
approval of the election, you will find out that, in fact,
every one of those countries who came out and said that the
election was free and fair was merely echoing the national
interest and pronouncement of their home government.
EU countries knew that the election was a sham. In private,
when we discussed with some of them, they admitted that the
election was full of lapses, but in public they tell the
world that it was the freest election in the history of this
country. And when you ask them, how many elections
they have observed in Nigeria, they keep quiet. So, the
whole business of election observation is nothing but a
sham. It is a fraud in which we are cheated and the citizens
of their own countries are also cheated because it is a
multi-billion dollar business in the name of democracy.
Now, if we in the country are not happy with the election,
if we in the country notice our own people died, who is a
foreigner, an American or European, to come and tell us that
the election was the freest or the best? How many elections
are worth the life of one individual? And how many thousands
of people were killed in the cause of the campaign, in the
cause of the election itself and the tragedy, which followed
after? Go and tell the people of Kaduna State that the
election was the best in the history of Nigeria and see what
you get. About 17 governors today cannot live in peace in
their own state capitals; they are living in Abuja, and you
are here telling me the election was the best and the
Now that you are coming to specifics, what were those lapses
you noticed that perhaps, some of us are not aware of?
Experience in government has shown that you win or lose an
election or you have a free and credible election when you
organize a good registration system. The INEC registration
system was a disgrace. It was incompetent. It was supposed
to involve machines, which were, in fact, unconstitutional
and when they did, you find out that almost all the machines
failed everywhere in Nigeria. If you don’t have a credible
voters’ register, you can never have a free and fair
election. Secondly, the first election was so bad, so
riotous, and so useless that INEC itself was forced to
cancel it. In cancelling the election, they did not think
that it would have effect on the subsequent elections and
that they would not have enough time to conduct the first
election, then allow a lapse of seven days before the next
election. They had to rush and bring the election forward,
in a way that would have been unthinkable because having
conducted one election, and then coming another three days
to conduct the next election is nonsense, especially in a
country where the vast majority of the people live in the
villages and they are illiterates.
So, so much for your incredible election often applauded by
your so-called foreign observers, because when Nigerians who
are educated talk to me about foreign observers, I detect a
sense of inferiority complex. Who are they to declare your
election as free and fair, when you yourself know the
situation? And after the election itself, you know what
happened in places like Kaduna and others. After that, we
are now seeing the result of the collusion between the
judiciary and the PDP. You the media will tell us that the
judiciary is the last hope of the common man. But now, the
Nigerian judiciary is the worst in the world. It is only in
the Nigerian judiciary that you see judges, from Supreme
Court, down to other courts, go and solicit for bribes from
two sides in litigation, I mean from the complainant and the
defendant. So, what are you saying?
To have free and fair election, we need more than a credible
register; we need more than a credible INEC. We also need a
good judiciary that believes in the rule of law. Not chief
judges, including Supreme Court judges, who are accused of
taking bribes. So, for the 2011 polls, there was no
prevailing background that allows for free and fair
election. It is not the seven-day event. The exercise must
be conducted according to certain rules. Democracy must be
respected. There must be respect for the rule of law before
you have a credible election. And don’t ever believe that
anybody who comes here to observe election is doing so
because he loves you. He is here because he is protecting
his own national interest. They are only after our oil and
Away from 2011 election, Nigeria is 51. You were an active
player in the second republic. Looking at the North, what do
you think could have gone wrong, putting side by side the
politics in the Second Republic and what we have today?
Why must you single out the North for comment?
Well, I want to look at the North first before we look at
Nigeria. You are a leader in your own right. Your comment on
this will not be out of place.
Well, I think the North was shortchanged in more ways than
one. Firstly, the North was victim of its own naivety that
politics can be played in a very holistic manner, that we
can provide the necessary nucleus for building a greater and
better Nigeria. This was the dream of our First Republic
leaders, the Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu Kano, J. S.
Tarka, and so on. But what has become clear is that the hope
of our northern leaders was misplaced and a number of the
people who are supposed to have been participants in the
game took a lot of things for granted.
What are those things they took for granted and what do you
mean when you say the North is shortchanged?
You do not play politics unless you know who you’re dealing
with. If you don’t know the character of the person you are
playing politics with, you are bound to be disappointed.
Now, the North started the struggle for independence at a
comparative disadvantage, with a very few schools, very few
so-called educated people. We were left behind because the
missionaries did most of their works down South and the
Middle Belt and we didn’t want to give the impression that
we wanted to delay independence for the country because we
wanted to hold back. Now, when independence came, we decided
to adopt an attitude of live and let’s live, allow the
southerners occupy those areas where they have comparative
advantage; we also believed that they will be sensible
enough to realize that the country cannot be built if other
sections of the country are marginalized or are
So, our attitude was to do whatever we can to make sure that
the country is a fair playing field for all. And that was
where we were greatly mistaken. And the same mistake
continued repeating itself.
When we came to the Second Republic, it was the northerners
who insisted that we will have this system of rotation and
zoning, which was then the main mantra of the NPN. And they
practiced it. Unfortunately, when it came to the PDP, which
is a bastardised version of both the NPN and NPC of the
first and second republics, the party was able to attract
some of the worst characters, the most unfavorable
characters in our national life; people who have no sense of
honour, people who came into politics because they want to
make money. People who don’t care about the next party,
their neighbor or even the next zone; they are only after
themselves; people who are not ashamed to lie and people who
are northerners but believe that the South has advantage
because the South has this ‘safe’ money, and that when you
get into politics, the first thing you do is to take care of
yourself and your relations and all that. And through
nepotism, you will take care of your own children. You will
steal government money and then you lie to the people.
That is the operating mantra of the PDP, as a party today
and these are people who call themselves democrats. If you
are not in the same cult with them, nobody expects you to
win a free and fair election or to be participant in a free
and fair election process. I know nobody in the PDP who can
be described as a democrat. These are people who want power
and they want to get it at all costs, no matter the price to
them, to the country or the people. This is the kind of
thing we have. Now, if the northerners had played the kind
of game, which is prevalent in the South – power for
themselves and what have you – I can assure you that Nigeria
would have been history now.
The northerners played fair and at the end of the day they
were very badly rewarded. Now henceforth, or in another
dispensation, I don’t believe anybody can convince the North
that some of the people who are playing politics now are
trustworthy. Nobody will believe that. And if northern
leaders, who are to come, play that kind of game, they are
going to be rudely shocked. The coming of Obasanjo in 1999
is a major chapter in our history because Obasanjo could
never have won an election and he still cannot win an
election. Our generals brought him in: Ibrahim Badamosi
Babangida, TY Danjuma, Aliyu Gusau and Abdulsalami Abubakar.
He couldn’t have organised a party. He couldn’t have won any
form of election. They brought him, used their own resources
and the resources of the treasury of Nigeria to form and
fund a party called PDP. What is happening today is the
direct result of that terrible tragedy of their own action.
I think the four of them owe this nation an apology for the
way they brought out Obasanjo from prison and gave him a
comprehensive pardon and formed the PDP and used resources
from the treasury to finance the PDP. Here is the result.
Now, talking about northern leaders and the rest of us, one
of those you said should apologize to Nigeria is being
touted as a possible replacement for the current NSA. What
do you think, especially as it amounts to recycling
northerners in government?
Now, this brings me back to what I asked you when you talked
about the North. What you are talking about the North
recycling old leaders applies to the South also. I recall
vividly that the people I knew or read about during the
First Republic are still active and they are still the
movers and shakers in the politics of the South. So, what
makes you think that we can be different when we are doing
politics in the same country within the same constitutional
Now, to come back to the question, I call it recycling
garbage. In the first place, the people we are talking about
did not get their first appointment on merit; they got it
from purely political and nepotistic considerations and for
every time they got recycled back into government, the logic
behind it wasn’t merit, wasn’t because national interest was
at stake, but it is because somebody has a brainwave, to say
so and so is bad and only so and so person is competent to
fix it. That is an insult to the people of Nigeria. You
cannot tell me that in nation of 150 million people, only
one person of mediocre disposition is the one who can be the
National Security Adviser. That is utter nonsense; it is
counter-intuitive, and it is against justice to reappoint
one person to a particular position six times.
Supposing this man drops dead tomorrow, because he is
already over 70, does it mean that there would be no
individual to help tackle the security challenges of today?
And are you telling me that if we are in this mess today,
and he is a member of the governing party, he has served in
this administration, then he leaves and nobody else can do
his job? It is wonderful how you people in the media too
argue over this issue. Is it sane to argue that only one man
has the answer to our security challenges? I think it is
sickening. And I want to use this opportunity to call on the
media too, to please help us raise the level of the debate.
At any rate, when he served previously, was he any different
from the others? This is, however, not to say that the
current National Security Adviser is doing any better. If
anything, the man is a national disgrace and an
international laughing stock. He is a man with the lousiest
track record in the army when he served and now you make him
the National Security Adviser only because he is an Ijaw
man; he comes from the same tribe with the President. Is
that not the most irresponsible way to pick a man who will
help confront the challenges of today? When you give
appointment to somebody who is your own tribal man, not
because he is competent, then you can see why we will never
have a peaceful situation in this country.
Now, the job of National Security Adviser in the country has
nothing to do with domestic security, the man deals with
international security; that is the security of the entire
nation. He has nothing to do with police or Boko Haram or
OPC or the militants in the Niger Delta. See how the office
has now been turned into a joke. It’s a thing for serious
concern. I say so because the office is now seen as money
making outfit; if you want to make money easily, go and be
the National Security Adviser or get involved with the SSS
or the police. It is only in Nigeria you can get this kind
of nonsense. Most of the people who do the job in Nigeria
are people who are basically illiterate, at least those who
occupy that position cannot write a single paragraph in
English and when they relate with other security personnel
at that level, their foreign counterparts, they will laugh
at us. Most of them, who had occupied that position, with
exception of one fine General, don’t read newspapers; they
don’t watch television. They are not literate with the
Internet, in this day and age. They rely on rumors and that
is what has now been elevated as national security policy.
If you decide to recycle garbage six times, good luck to
you, because nothing will improve as far as good
representation is concerned. These people believe in money
and they are there to be rich, own hundreds of houses in
Abuja and other parts of the country, have plenty of money,
both in naira and foreign currencies, with which they also
settle potential trouble makers. How they operate is, if
Boko Haram is making noise, go and find half a million
dollars, give them and they will keep quiet; if Gani Adams
and others are making noise, go and give them money, they
will keep quiet. If the boys in the Niger Delta are making
noise, go tell them ‘look under amnesty, we will buy houses
for all their leaders in Abuja, pay the school fees of their
children and make sure they have fantastic homes and they
will drink Champaign to bed every day;’ that is what
But when you have a determined enemy, the one that is
determined to make trouble, this kind of appeasement will
not work. Those who are determined, who are educated, will
not be bought. There is always in every society, someone who
cannot be bought and I believe those who are making trouble
in Nigeria today cannot be easily bought.
If you were in the president’s shoes, will you keep all the
security chiefs you have?
My dear friend, the president was never forced to appoint
the people he appointed. I don’t think any nobody is forcing
him to keep them in the positions they are now. When you are
making political appointments based on sentiments and not on
merit, you also live with the consequences of failure. When
you look at the history of how these people were appointed,
we know what I mean. I just mentioned the issue of Andrew
Azazi, who was appointed merely because he is a tribesman of
the president. The president himself did not know him, but
he is an Ijaw man; he was good. Let me look at the other
places, and you will appreciate why we are in this terrible
mess. The DG of the SSS, the current DG was appointed after
nine of his seniors were eased out to make room for him. His
qualification: he comes for the Niger Delta and the PDP and
the president have made a determination that the DG SSS must
come from the Niger Delta, whether the Niger Delta has a
good candidate or not. So, if you remove the nine most
senior officers in addition to the other DG, the former DG,
to make room for one man, who is the most junior out of the
lot, just to have somebody from Niger Delta as the DG, SSS,
you can see why we are in a mess.
Next, we move to the police. The IG of the police comes from
nearby Jigawa State, but they had to retire six DIGs above
him, one of who comes from the same town with him. Some of
the other AIGs, who were senior to him, were also given the
option to retire; you can see if we had also allowed that,
there would have been at least nearly 20 people, all of who
are senior to the IG who have to serve under him or retire.
Most of them chose to go. Now are you surprised that the
police are in a terrible mess? That is the real issue; the
competent people have been eased out and that is why we are
where we are today. The Chief of Army Staff was appointed
when we have over 30 generals ahead of him. His
qualification is that he is married to the first cousin of
the first lady; this is the only qualification.
Is Jonathan the only one guilty of the picture you are
trying to paint?
No, don’t get me wrong. You know I will not spare any of
them. The previous one, Dambazau, was appointed over and
above a more qualified person, also a fellow northerner
(name withheld) who is his senior. Yar’Adua appointed him.
When Jonathan came in, he also appointed even the worst
candidate from further lower down, who was a Brigadier
General and here is what we have today. Are you surprised
that we are in the mess? You didn’t appoint people on the
basis of their ability to deliver; you appointed them
because you had in mind the forthcoming election. That is
how the appointment was made. The DG SSS, the Inspector
General of police, the Chief of the Army and the Air Force
and some of the heads of paramilitary were appointed based
on this. So, who is fooling who? We are behaving like
children, my dear. You know something you don’t want and you
sit on it and then when you see war, you now start crying
like a baby.
The president himself said the system has collapsed. The
question you are supposed to ask him is who presided over
the collapse? Under whose watch is this collapse evident?
Yar’Adua was not my idea of a president for Nigeria, but my
dear, Yar’Adua was 10 million times better than this
character we now have as president. At least we know
Yar’Adua was an invalid, with his blind ambition and that of
his wife, which caused them his life. If I were in the
situation Yar’Adua found himself, I would have refused to be
president. My personal feeling is irrelevant, if you give a
job I cannot do, I say my friend, I cannot do this one. But,
there are people in Nigeria who prepared to eat and die. If
you provide them the opportunity to make money, they will do
that, even if it means keeping the money for others to enjoy
or to be stolen. That is the tragedy of our country. And it
is not something that can be undone by one man. Even if the
president wants to do it alone, he cannot do it.
The appointments are made on a kind of conspiracy between
the governors and the president. Governor nominates the
candidate; he gets an appointment, whether he is fit or not.
Majority of the ministers today are people who cannot
deliver as local government chairmen. So, why are you asking
this? While they were being nominated where were you, the
Look, don’t get me wrong, Yar’Adua was not better. He
appointed a boy who could not pass through the Economics
department in Bayero, Kano here, a department that was
adjudged the weakest then, as Economic Adviser. I mean he
was expelled from Bayero. But I insist, as bad a Yar’Adua
was, he was 10 million times better that this character we
In all of these, what is the way out?
First and foremost, you have to clear the present government
and clear the PDP, the ruling party. But next time you get
opportunity to form party, allow them to be formed
naturally, with the people who belong together. With the
kind of madness and insanity we have in the PDP, where no
two people speak alike, no two people think alike, no two
people care about the country, you can never run a country.
If it means suspending our democracy at least for a number
of years, so that we can have credible party system, let us
begin from there. Nigerians must learn to be patient, not to
be patient with corruption, which is the argument being
advanced now. We have to be patient, to make sure that we
have parties, which have ideologies, which have core beliefs
and when we have those kinds of parties we can play
politics. At the moment, we have nothing of the kind.
About a week or so ago, some Ijaw leaders put an advertorial
in the newspapers accusing northern leaders of using Boko
Haram to destabilize the Jonathan’s government…
That is nonsense. In fact, I will not even dignify that with
a comment. If one wants to destabilize Jonathan you need
more than just a bunch of those boys. Mark you; the North is
over 90 million out of the 150 million Nigerians. So, I
don’t know what is there to destabilize. As far as I am
concerned, Jonathan is presiding over a discredited system.
He does not need to be destabilized. He will destabilize
himself together with the PDP. The PDP did very well to
destabilize this president, so nobody needs to bother him.
They don’t have a party; they don’t have a government. The
pillars he thought were going to be useful to him to emerge
as the president and to run the government successfully are
nowhere to be seen; it’s everybody unto himself, God for us
all; that is what the PDP is all about.
They have their own phobia, and that statement may just have
come from the Presidency itself, because underground they
have their ways of doing some of these things and making
them look as if they are coming from the outside.
Earlier, you talked about getting rid of the government…
(Cuts in) yes! I repeat, get rid of the government.
Including through revolution?
Anyhow; In fact, I will welcome a revolution in Nigeria,
because we are overdue for revolution in Nigeria. By
definition, Lenin said, a revolutionary situation ‘is a
situation whereby those who are governing cannot govern and
yet they are unwilling to make way for those who will
govern.’ That is what we call a classical revolutionary
situation. Clearly, this government is incompetent. They are
in no position to run this country. Only God is maintaining
this country. And not only that they are incompetent, and
cannot govern; they don’t want to give way to others to
come. This is a classical revolutionary situation. When we
have situation like this, the question is who will bell the
cat? Who had the guts to organize the young men because I am
old now? I am 62. I am no more a young man; so who will
organize the young men to demand their right and if they
don’t get, they bring down the government.
We are overdue for revolution. If you are afraid of
revolution, maybe you have something to be afraid of. I have
nothing to be afraid of about revolution, even though I
know, again, in the history of revolution situation, many
people who are innocent get killed and that is what a
revolution is all about; some people will die, but the vast
majority of others will have their freedom and the country
will have a new and fresh start and tackling its own
problems, including the security challenges we are talking
So, there is nothing wrong with revolution. Countries that I
respect have had revolution. The British have had
revolution. America has had revolution; the French too and
many others. What is wrong with us having revolution here?
Unless, of course, you belong to those who are stealing
government money or you have something to hide, then of
course you should be afraid of revolution, because after the
revolution, there is what we call revolutionary justice;
they will get you and shoot you and there are many people
that if we shoot in Nigeria, Nigeria will be a better place.
In fact, if you shoot 500 people, Nigeria will be a much
better place and God will forgive you.
There was serious mistrust over 2011 election, between the
North and the South. As a northerner, what do you think
Again I don’t like you labeling me a northerner. Am I not a
Nigerian? I am a Nigerian, please, mind your word. Look,
there was too much mistrust as a result of the dishonorable
conduct of the PDP, especially Obasanjo and the rest of the
people, as a result of this zoning of a thing. In the first
place, I never believed in zoning, or rotational politics.
So, if they get themselves into cull-de-sac, good luck to
them, because the country will be better off, by allowing
all the sections of the country to elect their own leaders.
The country will also be better off if the PDP, as a result
of zoning and rotation policy collapses. Nigeria will be
better off tremendously if the PDP ceases to exist as a
political party, but that is not the issue.
Now, whether there is mistrust between the North and the
South, between the East and the North is not my business.
First, we have to create the institutional framework for the
conduct of free and fair elections and make sure that those
who are good emerge as the leaders of the country. I don’t
lose sleep because of zoning or rotation policy.
I told many northerners in the PDP, who are my personal
friends that this thing cannot last; they thought I was
joking. Here we are today. Where is the zoning policy? Dead!
Where is the rotation policy? Dead! So, what makes you think
that Nigeria can only be governed only on the basis of
zoning and rotation? It will never be governed. So, if they
feel they can go ahead and bring some tricks out of the bag
with which to govern Nigeria, or they think that once they
have zoning and rotation policy, they can go ahead and be
good party and bring good governance, good luck to you. But
those who emerge as a result of zoning and rotation have
delivered nothing from 1999 to date. The country has been
walking from one crisis to another, from economic crisis to
Even before 2015, Goodluck has announced that he wants
one-term Presidency of seven or six years, after he has
finished his turn. Don’t tell me he has promised; everybody
in the PDP has promised lies. So, definitely if you make a
promise with the PDP, you should know that that promise is
meant to be broken. Now, Goodluck wants to contest in 2015
and he also wants six-year single term. He has already had
three years plus four, making seven and another six. Now,
even if we have a system of inheritance, whereby you are
born to be the king of Nigeria, I cannot justify having this
man as Nigeria’s leader; a do-nothing leader, a know-nothing
leader and he wants 13 years. How will this country be after
13 years of Jonathan Goodluck?
What would you tell Nigerians on the 51st independence
Am not sure Nigerians will be happy with what I have to say,
but I will say it nonetheless. The way and manner this
government cowardly refuses to celebrate our independence
anniversary is a massive and disgraceful climb-down. It is,
in fact, a submission to evil and to darkness; it is also an
admission, by them, that they are not fit to do the job.
They are not fit to lead this country, because I remember
that even at the height civil war from 1967 to 1970, Nigeria
never missed the opportunity of celebrating its own national
anniversary, because it is like a birthday to us. Even if
you don’t celebrate with fanfare, you celebrate it with
prayers. This is a disgraceful regime, a disgraceful
presidency, a disgraceful government brought about by a
disgraceful party. May God shorten their stay and may God
shorten the agony of the people of Nigeria.
I urge Nigerians to pray for deliverance from God and to
allow this country to restore itself, restore its honour and
occupy its own position in the comity of nations. That is
all I can say. But I see no hope of peace in this country,
as long as this government, this INEC, this security service
is in charge of our destiny. May God disband them and the
sooner, the better.