We should vote Jonathan in our own interest: Youruba leaders
Eminent leaders of thought in the Yoruba land, on Thursday, converged on Ibadan, the political capital of the South-West region and declared that every Yoruba son and daughter should vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in “their enlightened self-interest.”
The leaders spoke one after the other at the second post-national conference summit convened by the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, at the Premier Hotel and attended by prominent leaders in the region across political divides.
Chairman of the summit and leader of the Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the decision to support President Jonathan was taken to ensure that the report of the national conference was implemented.
Adebanjo described the report of the conference as a document that would bring the Yoruba nation back to the glorious era of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, stressing that the Yoruba nation should not be allowed to grope in the dark.
The Awoist went down memory lane to highlight how the country moved from regional government to awkward federalism, clarifying that Jonathan was adopted because of his commitment to the restructuring of the country through the implementation of the confab report.
He urged the Yoruba nation to reject the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and those in the vanguard of the change campaign, adding that Buhari was far from being the angel his handlers were painting him as.
“The change we need is not in a change of personality, but a change of the constitution and this is why we must vote for Jonathan to guarantee the implementation of the confab report,” he said.
National chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and chairman of the Yoruba delegation to the 2014 confab, Chief Olu Falae, said the Yoruba leaders were consistent, principled and no blackmail could make them change their decision to support Jonathan.
“Throughout the conference, Jonathan did not try to teleguide us. He said he will implement the report of the conference in the first year of his second term of office. Our interest as Yoruba nation must be to get out of political and economic jail,” Falae said.
He dismissed insinuations that the Yoruba leaders were bribed by Jonathan to endorse him, saying he personally raised N20 million to support Buhari in 2007 because of Buhari's promise to convoke a national conference if elected.
Leader of the Afenifere group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, expressed delight that the discussions at the summit had afforded young men and women who had been shouting change the opportunity to understand what the real change should be.
Keynote speaker at the summit, Professor Dupe Olatubosun, described the APC change slogan as a complete hoax, because Buhari's antecedents did not portray him as someone capable of bringing genuine change to the country.
“APC is dressing Buhari in borrowed robes of honesty, transparency and integrity. His sponsors know the truth, yet they are deceiving Nigerians for their personal, selfish, narrow political and economic interests,” he said.
Dr Doyin Okupe, in his goodwill message, said: “I am in government, but I am not happy. I am not unhappy with government, but I am unhappy with the status of the Yoruba nation in this government.”
Invited representative of the South-East zone and chairman of the President Jonathan Campaign Organisation in Southern Nigeria, former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, said the summit was timely, because “if you don't know where you are coming from, you probably do not know where you are going.”
He stressed that the country could not afford to switch from digital to analogue era, adding that a vote for Jonathan was a vote for the future of the country.
Obi promised to go back to the South-East and recommend the convocation of a similar summit so as to guide the Igbo nation.
Tony Uranta, who represented the South-South region, remarked that it would be a travesty of justice if after all the efforts made by eminent Nigerians at the conference, its resolutions ended up in the trashbin.
Minister of State, Federal capital Territory, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, said President Jonathan had already started implementing the report of the confab through the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee of which she was a member representing the South-West region.
She related the personal sad experiences of her family in the hands of Buhari as a military head of state and submitted that the alternative APC was trying to sell to Nigerians was fraudulent.
In a welcome address, the convener, Dr Mimiko, described the summit as a pan-Yoruba forum with all political tendencies in attendance and mapped out a bright future for the Yoruba nation.
Former Oyo State governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, urged Senator Bola Tinubu to restrict himself to speaking for his party, the APC and never claim to speak as the voice of the Yoruba nation, because he was not qualified to do so.
Leaders at the summit included Major-General Adeyinka Adebayo, Chief Richard Akinjide, Dr Femi Okurounmu, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Professor Wale Oladipo, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Dr Fredrick Faseun, Chief Gani Adams, Dr Olapade Agoro, Professor Olu Agbi, Professor Temitope Alonge, Senator Lekan Balogun, Senator Lekan Mustapha, Dr Fola Akinosun.
Others were Mr Jide Adeniji, Senator Teslim Folarin, Mr YInka Odumakin, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, Chief Supo Shonibare, Professor Niyi Akinnaso , Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Chief Dosu Oladipo, Honourable Remo Olatubora, Kayode Akinmade, Senator Sehinde Arogofa, Professor KolaOmotosho, Dr Eddy Olafeso, Chief Segun Adegoke, Dr Amos Akingba, Chief Pegba Otemolu, Wale Ajani and many others.
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