The post-National Conference Summit, held last Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo
State capital, was an assemblage of ‘who is who in the country particularly
from the South-west. The attendance cut across religious and political
At the parley, were Chief Olu Falae, a former presidential candidate of the
defunct All Peoples Party; Chief Reuben Fasoranti, leader, Afenifere;
General Adeyinka Adebayo(rtd), 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
Daniel, 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, spokesperson for President Jonathan; Otunba Iyiola Omisore;
Chief Richard Akinjide, former Minister of Justice; and Senator Lekan
Balogun, a PDP chieftain.
Others at the meeting include 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; Mr. Gani Adams, Oodua Peoples Congress leader;
Prof. Temitope Alonge, Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital;
some members of Accord Party and Labour Party.
Meanwhile, Oyo State governor, Chief Abiola Ajimobi and his three other
colleagues from the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) in the
South-west viz: Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Rauf Aregbeshola (Osun) and
Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) stayed away from the Summit. This was not
unexpected. Their party did not endorse the National Conference which
report was the crux of the matter at the Summit. In fact, the APC National
Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, also from the South-west, described the
National Conference a distraction ahead of its inaugration. Analysts
believed the APC rejected the Confab out of its fear that it was designed
to buy favour from the South-west which had continued to clamour for the
restructuring of the country as the basis for a peaceful co-existence of
the northern and southern segments of the nation. Unfolding events seem to
have proved the analysts right.
Though the Summit, entitled, “The National Conference, 2015 elections and
the Yoruba nation”, was hinged on Yoruba’s future, it had a semblance of
politics as the convener, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, governor of Ondo State;
Fasoranti and Chief Ayo Adebanjo, also a chieftain of the apex Yoruba
group, said the Summit was to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy.
General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), the presidential candidate of the APC, was
severally maligned for his role as a military Head of State in 1983.
Reference was made to how people who fought for democracy then were thrown
Buhari’s action and the refusal of the APC to support the National
Conference were repeated almost by every speaker except Ladigbolu who said
he was not a politician and would not speak like one. He just advised
Yoruba people to tread softly in their choice of who leads the country from
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 Goodluck 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.
“No doubt, Nigeria has passed through various stages of national dialogues
before without being able to emplace a constitutional and political
arrangement that is accommodating enough to sustain the dedication and
patriotism of many. The Constitutional and governmental experiments that we
have had seem inadequate to capture the essence of those things that have
the inherent capacity to unite us despite our ethnic and religious cleavages.
“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”.
Fasoranti and Adebanjo explained why they prefer Jonathan to Buhari.
Adebanjo said, “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”.
Prof. Dupe Olatunbosun, who presented the keynote address, entitled, “The
2014 National Conference and the future of the South-West, reeled out the
achievements of Jonathan saying, “Considering the various challenges
Jonathan-led government has been facing since 2011, these are remarkable
achievements. Added to the giant strides of President Jonathan‘s courage,
determination and genuine love for the unity of Nigeria that made him
organize the national conference which other leaders before him failed to
do. The success of the national conference has laid a solid foundation for
the unity of the country when its recommendations become implemented”.
“There are some people, particularly, the APC, who have refused or failed
to see these various monumental laudable achievements of Jonathan-led
administration over the past four years mainly because of malice, prejudice
and bias as well as jaundice and glaucoma in their eyes. Certainly,
everything about President Jonathan seems to be providentially right and
Looking at the array of people at the Summit and sudden u-turn of some
Yoruba groups like the Yoruba Council of Elders, led by Adebayo, which,
some weeks ago, distanced itself from Afenifere’s endorsement of Jonathan
for re-election, the political calculation seems to be changing. The YCE’s
sudden turn-around may have been occasioned by a meeting which reportedly
held in Lagos where the President was said to have endeared himself to the
While the leaders were having their Summit, hundreds of youths, under the
auspices of the South- West Youth Network and led by Kunle Yusuff, said the
option left for Nigerian youths in the March 28 election, was for them to
vote Jonathan to enable him continue his transformation agenda.
The event, organised by the aides of Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi
Sambo, centred on the South-West Youth Voters Awareness and sensitization
programme ahead of the rescheduled general elections.
Yusuff, who is also the PDP House of Representatives candidate for
Lagelu/Akinyele in the March 28 election, advised youths to hold their
destinies in their hands by voting Jonathan again.
Yusuff said, “We concentrate on youths because 70 per cent of the voting
population comprises youths . Youths are the bedrock of this election. We
have decided to form this organization to reach out to millions of Nigerian
youths on the need to be active participants in the on-going electioneering
campaigns by getting their Permanent Voters cards (PVCs) and vote for the
person of Mr. President who is giving his all to position the youths as true leaders of tomorrow”.