By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—SOME South-West leaders, yesterday, said that the only genuine change the nation craves for now is that of the constitution and not of personality at the helm of the country’s affairs.
Rising from a six-hour meeting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, they therefore resolved to work assiduously to ensure that the Confab recommendations get translated to concrete realities and back President Goodluck Jonathan for re-election.
Notable Yoruba personalities in the region said this in Akure at a post National Conference Summit with the theme: “2015 Elections and the Yoruba Nation.”
The leaders include Afenifere elder, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu; Chairman, Unity Party of Nigeria UPN, Dr Fredrick Fasehun; Dr Kunle Olajide; Coordinator of Odua Peoples Congrees OPC, Otunba Gani Adams; Afenifere Secretary, Yinka Odumakin; Prof Dupe Olatubosun; Dr Olusegun Mimiko; Minister of state for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye among others.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Adebanjo said that a vote for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the coming presidential election, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) is a death sentence to the implementation of the confab report.
Adebanjo pointed out that the change Nigerians are calling for is structural change in the constitution, not personality.
“Who is succeeding Goodluck Jonathan? We must examine his antecedents. What we need is a change in the constitution not from Jonathan to Buhari. If a southerner is not allowed to implement the 633 resolutions in the report of the Confab, no Northerner will change it,’’ he said.
He noted that the resolutions taken at the national conference included the issue of state police, devolution of power, resource control, creation of local governments and rotational presidency.
According to him, the template for all the changes that Nigeria as a nation needs are embedded in the report of the conference submitted to the President.
Dr Fredrick Fasehun said that four more years of President Jonathan is more acceptable than eight years of General Buhari which will be a nightmare. “General Buhari will introduce nightmares, dictatorial policies if Nigerians vote for him in the coming Presidential election.’’
Fasehun said UPN adopted Jonathan “ because he is the only good thing that is available to Nigeria now.
On his part, Otunba Gani Adams said that a vote for Jonathan is a vote for a better Nigeria as the constitution would be structurally changed
Adams noted that the country is doomed if the report is thrown into the dustbin by those who do not believe in the confab talk less of its report.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko said that the confab report when implemented, will create room for each state to have its own constitution, its own police force, its own prison service, can create its own local governments, can build its own airports, seaports and railways.
“I believe that the President, who set up the conference, wanted a transformed Nigeria and in his closing remarks at the end of the National Conference, he made it clear that the people of Nigeria have great roles to play in implementing the report.
The governor noted that those sceptics who alleged that the confab was a ruse and a Greek gift and that delegates were on a jamboree have been proved wrong.
“Now that they are scheming to hijack power so as to throw the Confab report to the dustbin of history, I am sure that they will.”
In a communique issued after the meeting, the Yoruba leaders commended the President for yielding to their yearnings and generality of Nigerians by conveying the 2014 National Conference.
“The Yoruba nation is committed to a united and indivisible Nigeria based on the principle of justice, equity and rule of law with ample respect and understanding for cultural, religious and linguistic differences; we resolved to fully back and work for the reelection of President Goodluck Jonathan in the Presidential election as only this could guarantee the implementation of the Confab recommendation.’’
Those who signed the communique include PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka; former Deputy governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Olujimi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Eng Jide Adeniji and Kola Are of the Yoruba Self Determination Group.