By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—CHANCES of President Goodluck Jonathan winning the March 28 general election, at least in the South-West were brightened yesterday as notable Yoruba sons and daughters who converged on Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, for a summit jointly endorsed his candidacy.
Their reason for supporting the second term ambition of President Jonathan was informed by the convening of the national conference and promise to implement its recommendations which previous presidents in the country had ignored.
At the summit with the theme, “The national conference, 2015 elections and the Yoruba Nation,” held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, notable leaders in the zone cast aspersions on Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, saying the damage he allegedly did to the zone during his tenure as head of state was unforgivable.
The summit which was convened by the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had in attendance illustrious people in the zone. Among them were Chief Olu Falae, former Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy/ All Peoples Party; Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Leader, Afenifere; General Adeyinka Adebayo (retd), leader of the Yoruba Council of Elders; Senator Femi Okurounmu; Otunba Kunle Olajide, former Secretary, YCE; Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun, PDP leader; Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; Otunba Gbenga Daniels, former Governor of Ogun State; Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, former governor of Oyo State; Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State; Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Jonathan; Otunba Iyiola Omisore; Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation; and Senator Lekan Balogun, a PDP chieftain.
Also at the meeting were Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Minister of State, FCT; Prof. Wale Oladipo, national secretary of PDP; Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Publicity Secretary, Afenifere; Senator Teslim Folarin, PDP governorship candidate in Oyo State; Otunba Gani Adams, Oodua Peoples Congress national co-ordinator; Prof. Temitope Alonge, Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, some members of Accord Party and Labour Party among others.
Governor Mimiko said: “Today, the Yoruba people have marched out in their large numbers to their political capital, Ibadan to discuss and articulate once more, an issue which for decades, has been considered to be the main agenda for their race. You will recall that for several decades, the Yoruba were at the fore front of the agitation for the convocation of a National Conference. I therefore congratulate the Yoruba Nation and all Nigerians that finally, their dream of coming together to dialogue how they should be governed has come to reality.
“Let me salute President Jonathan for his bold and momentous move as well as his focused leadership which was demonstrated through his compliance with the agitations by Nigerians to debate their collective future. Convening the 2014 National Conference was indeed a historic assignment that we are proud of and as a people, we must do everything possible to ensure that the Confab recommendations get implemented.
Confab report implementation
“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 and in addition; in the economic domain, solid minerals that had been the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government since independence, have now been brought to the concurrent list.
“States can now create employment and develop at their own pace. With all that, it liberates everybody, it opens up the political space,” he said.
Chief Fasoranti and Ayo Adebanjo reiterated their earlier endorsement of President Jonathan saying their decision to support the president was not selfish neither did they align with any political party but for the common interest of Yoruba.
Adebanjo spoke annoyingly against Buhari saying those shouting ‘change’ of leadership in the country were ignorant of the period when the general threw most of them into prisons.
“Those shouting Buhari today don’t know the past and it is our duty to tell them where we are coming from. One section of the country dominates the other. I am not a member of any political party. Why we are so attached to Jonathan is because we know where we are coming from. Anybody who has the national interest as his focus, no matter where he comes from, we will support him.”
He went down the memory lane that as things were right with the South West in 1963 when regionalism was given consideration and things were properly done by the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo, so things will be okay for us by the time the recommendations of the national conference are implemented by President Jonathan.
While presenting the keynote address entitled, “the 2014 national conference and the future of the South West, Prof. Dupe Olatunbosun, said the success of the national conference has laid a solid foundation for the unity of the country when its recommendations are implemented.”
Archbishop Ladigoblu was careful in his speech saying he was not a politician like others adding that Yoruba should be careful in the choice of the country’s next leader.