Former Secretary of the Political Committee of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, is not a person who makes pretenses. A political analyst of the old stock and one of the founders of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) headed by the late Abdulrahman Okene, in this interview says Nigeria’s presidency in 2023 can’t go to a southern Christian, adding that only a southern Muslim not in the mould of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu can be president of Nigeria.
To Abdulrahman, an International Security Surveillance expert, who also worked closely with the late Generals Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Sani Abacha and military President, Ibrahim Babangida, Tinubu should think no more of becoming Nigeria’s president, “unless as president of Oduduwa Republic.”
He also spoke on the chances of the Igbo in the 2023 presidential race and how Nigeria can achieve peace. Excerpt:
Where do you stand on Nigeria’s presidency in 2023?
You see where I stand with regards to the 2023 presidency is that …remember that Chief Obafemi Awolowo said long time ago that the children of the poor who have been neglected will be so powerful that they will revolt against the government and stop the government from operating. I think that Bola Tinubu cannot be president of Nigeria. He will not be unless as president of Oduduwa Republic. That is the way I see it. Buhari will still be president, but if he is not careful with the cabinet he is trying to set up and the quarrel with the Southeast that they did not vote him and as such they would not be included, it is going to be hell because they need to do something. Buhari’s government needs to stop cattle herders and Boko Haram. They need to put back life in Nigeria the way we used to drive in our vehicles to Abuja and back. They need to clear the road from Abuja to Kaduna. But let me tell you that the South and North issue has to do with religion. A Muslim Yoruba can be president of Nigeria, but Tinubu is ChrisMus. You know what ChrisMus is? It means somebody who is a Christian and a Muslim. Tinubu is ChrisMus. He may be the son of Iyaoloja, but he is not in control now of the real Lagos people who do the voting. There is still going to be hell in Nigeria if the government does not thread softly. How we are going to get a Muslim Yoruba is what is going to make a southerner be president of Nigeria as one country. A southern Christian cannot be president of Nigeria. That is why Abiola won election even in Kano. I hope you still remember how we handled the Abiola issue when I was very close to Abacha. It is impossible as I see it for a Christian to be president of Nigeria now. For now, it is impossible, certainly not in 2023. The man who was coasting home to victory in APC, Rochas Okorocha; he stood well for APC and they tried to push him out because he was becoming so popular. He has Rochas Foundation, he was well vast in Sokoto, Kano and all these places, he is now being pulled by the tongue to have his action with this government. It is only a real Southwest Muslim that can win election and become president of Nigeria, but not Tinubu because he is double faced. Tinubu is a double-faced Muslim. Sometimes you begin to wonder whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. That is left to God.
How can Nigeria achieve peace?
Nigeria is going to be in a roller coaster thunderstorm form for few months and something is going to happen. I am not going to say it with my mouth. You won’t hear it from my mouth. But do you know the reason I am supporting Buhari today? I met Buhari in Kano when he was governor of Northeast at that time when he marched through Niger and almost killed all of them. He used his troop to overrun the place. Even France had to intervene to try to get Chad out of the grips of Muhammadu Buhari. We met at a guesthouse along Hadeija road owned by Sani Buhari Daura, my brother-in-law who was married to my sister. We met there and I told him he would be president of Nigeria. The feat you have achieved will make you the president and I will always work for you. You are a righteous and powerful man and you will make Nigeria work. And this is what I have been doing supporting Buhari quietly and secretly. Those of us supporting Buhari know what we are seeing. But the people around the presidency will never allow people like Abdulrahman Mohammed to be close to the presidency. Making the heads of the three arms of government to come from one section of the country portends danger for the nation. It doesn’t portend peace for Nigeria. The person that I see will play a roll in the annals of Nigeria…write this down Kenny is Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau. He is going to hold the Army in control. When there is turbulence in the leadership in Nigeria, all these Buratai and others he is going to deal with them. Dambazau is a professor of criminology. Are you aware of that? Tell the people now. He is a retired General and he holds the traditional title of Baraden Kano. He is a computer in the brain. He reads everybody’s mind just like Odekunle did in the Abacha government; only they ended up in the Kuru investigation of Al-Mustapha or so. It will not happen again. Dambazau is the saviour of Nigeria. He will make sure Nigeria survives. Another person that is going to play a roll…you know that quiet man during Obasanjo’s time that was the National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau. You know Aliyu Gusau and Babangida are like twin brothers. Babangida took over the government because Buhari’s first coming wanted to probe Aliyu Gusau and had even removed his khaki at that time. And Buhari did not read the signal well; he was talking about the arrest of Maryam, the wife of Babangida and charged her for drugs. That’s what Buhari was telling us. But Aliyu Gusau is a very intelligent man. I think out of those of us that have intelligence in Nigeria, Aliyu Gusau is one of the best I have met. You know it is a piece of what happened that time that is happening now in Gusau. They have to make peace between Aliyu Gusau and Buhari or the Buhari people. They have to make peace. Babangida is crippled, but I still remember how Babangida wanted Pascal Bafyau to be running mate to Abiola and Kingibe eventually became running mate to Abiola. Babangida told me in black and white that he was going to annul the election if that happened. I monitored the SDP primary election in Jos and the moment Kingibe made sure that he was the one who became Abiola’s running mate I phoned Babangida and told him and he said the deed is done and the annulment happened. We run in circles my brother, but whatever is possible to bring Aliyu Gusau and Buhari together is what is going to bring peace to Nigeria. You can quote me. Aliyu Gusau can help them stop this insurgency. But those who are using this insurgency for food will not want it to stop immediately. They will not want to destroy the cattle herders and Boko Haram easily. Get Aliyu Gusau and Buhari on the negotiation table. If they do that and make sure Dambazau is with them they will find a way of sorting out this issue. Then there will be a civilian government and there will be a Yoruba that is vast and has the knowledge of governance and will be able to make a president that will usher in peace for Nigeria in 2023, not Tinubu. Tinubu is a businessman. It is his pocket he is looking at. The problem with Yoruba land is because Tinubu and Osinbajo are in a contest of who the wealthiest Yoruba leader is going to be in Nigeria. Can that lead us to anywhere? It cannot. So, let them get Aliyu Gusau and Buhari with Dambazau in attendance to hold meetings. You remember Kayode Are was the National Security Adviser briefly when Obasanjo was president. We told Obasanjo to remove him, that Aliyu Gusau will make a better National Security Adviser. But he did not listen. I love Aliyu Gusau. I like Dambazzau to a point of fault. So, let them get Aliyu Gusau and Buhari on the negotiation table about Nigeria. Give them a long time to work out peace and get a Yoruba man that they have known in all these imbroglio in the Southwest that is going on, bring this man in even if he has never been governor before, but they know that he has done a lot of things before, a man with Awolowo’s sense and has learnt from Awolowo’s school of politics like Sardauna did. Listen to me and write this down, did Aliyu Gusau not stay and work in Ibadan? He was GOC in Ibadan. So Aliyu Gusau knows the real core Yorubas. Aliyu Gusau knows them. Tinubu cannot become Nigeria president unless in Oduduwa Republic, which they are trying to do now by floating the Oduduwa currency. All these are nonsense that they are doing. They are further trying to break Nigeria. I don’t want Nigeria to break. If Nigeria will be one country it will be in the hands of Dambazzau and Aliyu Gusau. Buhari is committed, Aliyu Gusau is committed and Dambazzau is committed. That I know. Babagana Kingibe is as committed as his intelligence gives him because in the NIA he was taught so many things and he became a spy. But complete commitment to Nigeria, even as Abiola’s running mate he was not committed. In this GCON he was given they were working on his intelligence. Buhari has wisdom working for him. There can be a Yoruba man that will be selected. At the time the Lagos group was trying to pity Abiola I knew what happened. Not everybody has the ability to think for Nigeria and she becomes a country. Like I said it requires commitment and sense of judgment. I respect Buhari a lot. I respect Aliyu Gusau a lot and I respect Dambazzau a lot. Those are the three people that hold the key to peace and governance in Nigeria. But we do not want a government supported under the cover of terrorism and loss of lives and blood flowing on the streets to rule Nigeria. They will not succeed. Blood flowing on the streets of Nigeria; you cannot go from Abuja to Kaduna, you can even be trailed and threatened to be hijacked. Buhari can only succeed if that stops and people are going to return to driving on the road peacefully to Abuja and back and move freely, then this government can survive. But that blood will continue and government will continue to be threatened. But my support for Buhari is total.
Abiola had his faults
Leave all this talk about complex conspiracy against Abiola. Abiola too had his faults. You remember when Tempo and other newspapers were operating from the trenches. I know Abiola and Abacha personally. Abiola wanted to bring in Kola Abiola and the rest of them, the Oduduwa into power in Nigeria’s power bloc and block the Muslim North out of control in the presidency, which the North will never take. The North will never take that. Who will allow anybody to do that? The declaration he made at Epetedo was what caused it and exposed them. We were working there and all the time we were advising Babangida we meant well. All the time I was advising Abacha I meant well. When I advised Jonathan about many things his group schemed me out and some people stole my compensation, about N10 million up till today they have not paid me. They used my brain and took the money. So, all I am saying now is quickly get Aliyu Gusau and Buhari on the negotiating table and like I told you Abdulrahman Dambazzau, Baraden Kano and Minister of Interior should be there. That is when they will find solution to what will happen in Nigeria.
Igbo, not a political force by number
An Igbo presidency cannot be possible as long as IPOB, Biafra and all that…they keep on distracting themselves and they do not know what they want. They should not think of the presidency of Nigeria; not for now. Is there going to be an Igbo Muslim? Do you ever foresee…there are many Igbo Muslims. We even have Igbo Muslim leaders and clerics in Igbo land, but they are not politicians. It is politicians that can run for the leadership of Nigeria. So forget it; they will keep on disturbing each other and fighting each other. You are talking of justice and fairness. Fair enough, but the presidency of Nigeria is not akara that they distribute. The presidency of Nigeria takes dedication and commitment. For now they are committed to Biafra. If not how can small boys stop them from thinking about whether or not they should stay at home because of Biafra. Igbo is Igbo right from the colonial days. Igbo try to dominate their environment in everything. That’s why they are everywhere in Nigeria. In trying to do so they have forgotten that since amalgamation, politics is a game of numbers. How many Igbo exist? Are they a political force by numbers? Politics is played by numbers and voters unless it is going to be rigged. Igbo are businessmen; they are not politicians. Even the Igbo Muslims are businessmen; they are not politicians. So, how is Igbo presidency possible? It is not possible. That Igbo is not president will not generate problems for Nigeria. Do they want the military to come back? Do they want a military government to have sense to live peacefully in Nigeria? Are they trying to drive us back to Ironsi’s time and we go in roller coaster in circles? Is that what they want Nigeria to become? Only those dedicated can be president of Nigeria if they have the commitment.