By Dapo Akinrefon
The South West geopolitical zone, has reiterated its support for the proposed national conference, but resolved to make regional autonomy, true federalism and resource control its priority.
Speaking after a National Conference Preliminary meeting on Yoruba Position, held in Ishara Remo Ogun State, at the residence of Afenifere bigwig, Sir. Olaniwun Ajayi yesterday, prominent Yoruba leaders, agreed to the need to reach out to more Yoruba people, for wider consultations for the region in order to articulate its position before the conference.
Meanwhile, the group disclosed it has done everything within its capacity to reach out to the leadership of the South West zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, but they were shunned.
Spokesman for the group, Mr Yinka Odumakin, who addressed the press said, “This is assembly of people who are political, people who are non-political and from various cadres of life, nobody should see it as a political thing. It is about the Yoruba nation, we are here to take a position on the planned national conference.”
Odumakin said, that “we have reviewed the modality for the conference. We do not accept the idea that we would be having 75 per cent vote at the conference where we don’t have consensus. We want that where we don’t have consensus, two-thirds should suffice.”
He, however, disclosed that leaders at meeting deliberated on a position to be adopted for the conference but said “we have not concluded yet.”
Tinubu, Akande, others rebuffed us—Ayo Adebanjo
Speaking on the efforts made to bring Tinubu to the forum, Chief Ayo Adebanjo alleged that the former of Lagos state, Asiwaju Tinubu and other APC chieftains, shunned them.
Adebanjo said, “We have done everything to bring APC, go and ask General Alani Akinrinade. We have done everything to bring in Tinubu. Some people wanted to meet him two days ago, he gave them an appointment, twice, he didn’t keep.
“Before we came here that was the battle we first had, that we wanted to get everybody that this is not a political matter, but he wouldn’t respond. What are we discussing that he (Tinubu) shouldn’t be there, we are talking of federalism, is that for our selfish interest, we talk of resource control and these are the things we have been agitating ever before he became the governor of Lagos State in 1999. I was the chairman of the party that made him the governor. These are the agitation we have been doing 20 years ago and you now have the opportunity to achieve it.”
Confab ‘ll help us move forward-—Braitwaite
On his part, Dr Tunji Braitwaite explained that the planned conference is a great opportunity once more opened for Nigerians to address the anomalies in the present federal structure.
He said, “it is not just for our generation but for the generations coming,” while he urged Yoruba and other well meaning Nigerians not to allow this opportunity slip without fully utilising it, he reiterated the need for the conference to hold before any elections is held in the country. “
Also, Dr. Olajide said the Yoruba are going to demand regional autonomy, we are going to take a second look at the issue of resource control and revenue allocation and a lot of other issues. But we haven’t taken a definite decision yet. That will be finalised on the 17th.”
On the plan to select the 15 delegates that would represent the Southwest at the conference, the decision was postponed till February 17th, when the meeting will reconvene at the same venue.