Dr. Junaid Mohammed insisted he is against the concept of zoning in the country – He warned that if anything happens to Buhari, the north will ask for more years to rule – He said the PDP tried it and it failed and that the APC is following a similar path Dr. Junaid Mohammed has said that due to the political structure of Nigeria, the north will feel entitled to be in power for another eight years if anything happens to President Muhammadu Buhari. In an interview with The Punch, Junaid who has been a staunch critic of the Buhari administration said he feared a repeat of what happened after the demise of late [resident, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The former member of the House of Representative said he was strongly against the structure of zoning as it causes problem when something unexpected happens. He said: “The constitution of Nigeria provides that if the president is either sick or otherwise incapacitated physically or mentally, there are certain steps to be taken. But I don’t believe we are there yet. My concern is not about whether the President is sick or not, but the way the sickness is being treated. From the day Buhari came back into Nigeria, it was clear that he had been ‘hijacked’ – the Presidency has been held captive by a cabal, as we know them. Now, whether the cabal has the right to do that is another matter because the constitution does not provide for any group of people – whether they are personal blood relations or friends of the President or his cronies. They have no right to deny Nigerians access to the President. But if doctors decide not to allow him see some people, that should be stated in statements which are coherent and medically knowledge-based. But what we have been seeing is abracadabra, with everybody telling his own lie by saying that the President is either praying or going to the office or to the mosque. “These do not allay fears. Our concern is: What is the state of health of our President? If we know this and have it on good authority, tempers will not flare. I noticed from the last time he came back to the time he went back, there have been a group of people making very irresponsible statements. They are saying that some people are planning confusion. Someone claimed that he cried because Buhari was unable to attend the wedding of his (Buhari’s) grandson – certainly, that old man was lying. We’ve seen all sorts of people who are now bringing up all sorts of animosity within the ruling party that some people are responsible for some people not being given appointments or denied the opportunity to be picked as vice president. These are very dangerous gimmicks. Dangerous, because there is a problem of sensibilities; those of us who have opposed zoning and rotation since the 1970’s have continued to say that this is not a very healthy situation and it is not in the interest of the country.” He noted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tried zoning but it did not work and that the same outcome is likely to happen in the ruling party. “The zoning in the Peoples Democratic Party has not worked. Now it is trending in the All Progressives Congress. It is either we fix it or ship it out altogether. If that is not done, then you have to go back and redress it by saying that in the course of zoning and rotation, (Umaru) Yar’Adua died in office. The years he ought to have spent in office were not compensated for. Those who are claiming that Yar’Adua was theirs or that he came from their region did not get the compensation that was due to them. We are now having a situation whereby Buhari is sick – whether he resigns or God forbid, something else happens, we are going to have the balance of Buhari’s years taken over by someone else from outside the zone Buhari comes from. What are we going to do? Are we going to say okay, nothing has happened, let’s carry on? “They invoked the so-called Doctrine of Necessity and carried on. Whereas you can ignore agitations from people who didn’t win an election, you cannot ignore agitations from people who won an election. I have no doubt in my mind that Buhari won an election. What he has done with the mandate is another matter and I have been very critical about what has been happening. But the fact of the matter is, those who see Buhari as their representative and are not being treated justly are going to claim their own rights and the only way you are going to resolve the issue is that after Buhari’s administration, you have it zoned to a certain part of the country for eight to 10 years. Whether this makes sense in a democracy or not is beside the point, because I don’t support zoning and rotation. You should ask those who support it and see whether they can continue with the system.”
“Because clearly, there are so many unforeseen circumstances that can come up in the process of zoning and rotation for which there is no remedy. And, if we don’t have a remedy for it, it may lead to the breakup of the country. We should be very careful. It cannot be the kind of thing which happened under Yar’Adua whether you call it divine intervention or Doctrine of Necessity. This time around, the concept has to be revisited and those who have lost out twice have to be compensated. Otherwise, there may not be much of Nigeria to think or talk about and our democracy will be gone.”