A former Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Selcap Dalung last Wednesday said that the people of North Central were being considered as political wheelbartows to execute dirty jobs.
He also said that the geo-political zone has been left behind in terms of political appointments, infrastructural development, among others.
Dalung said this in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay, saying the zone has always been used and dumped, adding that Solomon Daushep Lar, founder and one-time national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), after delivering Olusegun Obasanjo as president in 1999, was blackmailed as a corrupt man and was forced to resign with immediate effect by the same administration.
“Since his resignation as national chairman of the PDP, he was abandoned and never attending anything again until he passed away in 2013; he died without having any single house in Abuja. He was living as a tenant just because he was from the Middle Belt and later kicked out of the system.
“Subsequently, sons and daughters who replaced Chief Solomon Lar; Chief Barnabas Gemade for instance, who took over from Lar, was also kicked out in the same administration of the former President Obasanjo, then Audu Ogbeh after delivering Obasanjo in his second tenure 2003, he was compelled at gun point to resign. Col. Ahmadu Ali brought up and delivered President Jonathan all in PDP; this all leaders from North Central with great pleasure were all blackmailed and their crimes were because they all came from the Middle Belt,” Dalung said.
He said that people think that the Middle Belt can only be trusted with doing dirty job but certainly not allowed to hold any position.
He further said that the same thing happened in 2015. He recalled that the late James Ocholi (SAN), Dalung and other sons and daughters of the region worked tirelessly to bring the All Progressive Congress (APC) into power; two of them were appointed as Buhari’s first term ministers, but James Ocholi died four months in office. “May his soul rest in perfect peace with the Lord; may the soul of the great son of the central zone find favour in paradise Amen.”
He recalled that they served from 2015-2019 and tirelessly worked for the party to return president Buhari elected. According to him, immediately after the election, President Buhari reconstituted his cabinet; all the Christians members from North Central were not returned as his second term cabinet.
According to the former minister, “To worsen the situation in the same 2019 President Buhari appointed 22 ministers from northern Nigeria but only two were from the North central zone and the remaining 20 were all Muslims, adding that the idea of using religion and ethnicity to discriminate, blackmail and to destroy the good people of the North central zone is unacceptable.”
He also said that the former Senate president, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, a great Middle Belt son became leader not through the endorsement of the APC but, of course, the four years he was Senate leader, Sarakis crime was that even though a Muslim from the zone but he could not be trusted with the power of the Senate because he is from the north central and was also victimised, humiliated, arrested taken to all Courts so that he could be forced out of the office, but with the founding fathers, God of the people of the zone who believes in the unity of Nigeria stood up with the the Senate president Saraki and he survived.
The former minister said that the recent experience of the people of the Middle Belt under President Bola Tinubu administration was the worse because when he was looking for a man who would do a dirty job, Senator Abdullahi Adamu was brought in and made the national chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). The chairmanship was zoned to the Middle Belt; he delivered Tinubu to become president who has only 36 percent votes which is the most lowest votes in the history of Nigerian politics.
After winning the election, the most corrupt man and criminal in Tinubu’s government was now Senator Abdullahi Adamu despite the fact that he is a Muslim; but the reason was about region that criminal cannot be trusted, but can be used only in dirty job.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu was kicked out, hoping that Senator Umaru Tanko Al-maKura was going to replace Adamu as national chairman, but that couldn’t work just because they don’t want someone from the Middle Belt again since election is over.
Tinubu took the heritage of the national chairmanship which was already zoned to the people of the central, that was the reason why they were not opportune to contest Senate president, speakership and no any strategic position was zoned to them.
He said that just of recent RT. Honorable Idris Wase contested speakership but was black mail even though a Muslim who served as deputy speaker of the 9th Assembly and he was the most qualified among all the candidates to hold the position but was kicked out of the system.
The former minister therefore, made alerted all sons and daughters of the central zone that the Nigeria Federation did not have space for them because the only space they have for the people was dirty job.
“Since 1999, no son of the Middle Belt has ever been recommended as the position of vice president; just nominated; no; they have never produced president and even when the zone go in crisis, the Federal Government doesn’t give them attention. They have been killing their people right from Kwara, Benue nothing has changed, Federal Government has not been creating a commission for rebuilding of the zone that has been affected with crisis and not even to address the destruction of infrastructural development in Plateau, Benue, Niger, Kwara and Kogi States
“Development can only be North East, North West, South East and South-South Commissions. South East is even like central zone; but I am not speaking for them but speaking for the people of the central zone of the country.
“The people of the north central are considered like political wheelbarrows. When there is a need to carry the load, they immediately go for a man from the Middle-Belt. Once you successfully discharge the burden of carrying the load, you will be kicked out.
“Since 1999, the zone has been unjustly and unfairly treated. Look at the history of all the national chairmen of PDP and APC, majority of them are from the north central and majority of the chairmen that delivered the government are from the north central. But immediately after the election, they will be kicked out. Chief Solomon Lar delivered the PDP in 1999, he was kicked out immediately after the election. Gemade (Barnabas), Audu Ogbeh, all came in, Ahmadu Ali, all are great sons of the Middle-Belt. They were all used and dumped.”
Dalung urged the people of North Central and their leaders to wake up from their slumbers because, according to him, the idea of rushing and living the region behind is over, adding that all the states taken over during slavery were strong people of Middle Belt. He added that the first and Second World Wars were all sold by the people of Middle Belt in the African Frontiers Force.
“We produced the highest number of people that fought in that conflict and our parents died during the civil war; in Nigeria about sixty percent of the casualty of those who died are from Middle Belt; what is our crime, in this federation called Nigeria?
“Also, Senator George Akume delivered his Benue State to APC but he couldn’t be trusted to be appointed as chief of staff to President Tinubu but was given clerk of the cabinet, because Secretary to the Government of the Federation is just like clerk when all the cabinet members would have finished compiling list of their girl friends, friends, family members, SGF is the highest position that North Central get in Tinubu’s government.
“Therefore, the governance of North Central, political leaders whether Christians, Muslims or traditionalist should not be deceived by saying that you are a member of Redeemed or Living Faith Church that through Adeboye President Tinubu will give you appointment; no; unless if your mother will remarry Yoruba man before you will be appointed,” he said.
Former Minister Dalung advised the people of the Middle Belt to go back to the agitation of their founding fathers in 1956 that led to the Commission, because the federation cannot give them chance and that there was no single project that has been completed in the Middle Belt. “All have been abandoned,” he said.