By ADAMU BALARABE SOBA
Obsession with cheap publicity appears to be second nature to the deposed Emir of Gwandu, retired Major Mustapha Haruna Jokolo. He wants to be a headline grabber at the slightest opportunity. One does not, however, have any trouble with a man’s addiction to publicity, provided his views are moderated by discretion, good judgment and reason. Jokolo’s inconsistency and double standards are the main reason why his recent outburst against Northern leaders cannot go unchallenged.
In his usual controversial nature, he told the Daily Sun newspaper of Thursday, March 22, 2012 that the North should forget about any presidential bid in 2015. According to him, Northern leaders such as General Babangida, Aliyu Gusau, Atiku Abubakar and Malam Adamu Ciroma are the cause of Nigeria’s problems, including the current insecurity challenges. He didn’t, however, provide any valid evidence of how these leaders have caused the current insecurity. His arguments are mainly driven by venom and vitriol against these leaders.
The former Emir of Gwandu is the least qualified Northern leader to accuse anyone of causing insecurity in Nigeria. Part of the reason for his deposition was his habit of granting inflammatory interviews in Kaduna at a time the state was facing ethnic and religious tensions. Disregarding the volatility of the state, his utterances were sending the wrong message to his audiences. The Kaduna government was so embarrassed by Jokolo’s incendiary utterances that the former Makarfi Administration had to formally protest to the Kebbi State Government about the former Emir’s dangerous manipulation of ethnic and religious passion.
He was frequently inciting Muslims, telling them that the former Obasanjo administration hated Muslims and that Muslims should stand up against their perceived enemies. Rabble rousing has become Jokolo’s style to become a hero in the eyes of Muslims. The former Adamu Aliero administration politely drew Jokolo’s attention to the implications of his inflammatory utterances. Rather than humbly acknowledging the dangers of adding fuel to the flames of tension in Kaduna, the deposed Emir insulted former Governor Adamu Aliero and dared him to remove him. Northern Emirs and Chiefs were equally embarrassed by Jokolo’s unrestrained utterances, which were inconsistent with his status as a leader and peace maker. Jokolo’s recalcitrance led to his deposition and the “earthshaking consequences” he expected because of his dethronement never occurred.
Therefore, one wonders how Jokolo could have the audacity to accuse anyone else of causing insecurity. Rabble rousing should not be the role of peace makers. As a traditional ruler, he failed to grasp the responsibility demanded by his position as a former Emir. Manipulation of people’s sentiments for cheap popularity was his style and ultimately the cause of his downfall. In the council of Emirs and Chiefs, many of whom are by far older than him, Jokolo was frequently at loggerheads with fellow traditional rulers. His views were always distasteful and divisive. He was fond of portraying those who disagreed with him as enemies of Islam.
Another nauseating thing about Jokolo is his inconsistency or poor memory. When has Gen. T. Y. Danjuma become his newfound hero? In 1992, then as a retired army Major, he launched one of the most uncivil attacks against General Danjuma for his assessment of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua’s presidential ambition. It was unheard of that a junior army Major could launch such diatribe against a former Chief of Army Staff.
Ironically, Jokolo is now telling us that General Danjuma is his hero. Did he forget how he abandoned Buhari and accepted appointment as Chairman of Dicon Salt and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria under Babangida? He was General Buhari’s ADC until his administration was toppled in August 1985. Once appointed into the lucrative offices by Babangida, the Minna General became Jokolo’s new hero! Is economic rehabilitation superior to moral principle? Does Jokolo have any basis to accuse former FCT Minister Adamu Aliero of betraying Buhari by abandoning CPC back to PDP? Didn’t Jokolo abandon Buhari for a mess of pottage because the Daura General was no longer in the position to reward him with lucrative public offices as General Babangida did to him?
In the latest interview, the reposed Emir of Gwandu also dismissed the American University of Nigeria (AUN) located in Yola, as bringing no benefits to the people of the North. While dismissing the initiatives of other Northern leaders, Jokolo didn’t tell his leaders in what way he contributed to the development of the North. Is playing on people’s passion the only thing he thinks he can do for the North? Contrary to his uninformed assertion, the American University offers free scholarships to outstanding students, regardless of the poor economic backgrounds they may come from. Religion, ethnicity, tribe, nationality and race are never a boundary to those seeking scholarship once they distinguish themselves academically. Bringing down or discrediting the achievements of others is inconsistent with objective analysis of issues.
No discerning reader should be fooled by Jokolo’s antics, who enjoys to exaggerate his importance by bringing down other leaders. Northern Nigeria can do without leaders who see their roles mainly in terms of playing up our differences to gratify their personal desire for immediate popularity. The late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, left a legacy of a strongly united North, where ethnic and religious harmony became the basis for achieving progress. He made the North to feel as part of one family. Can the North now prosper with leaders who seek to play up our differences for selfish gains?