by Deji Abiodun
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 persuasions, reports made available by Vanguard Newspaper.
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.
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”.
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 into prison.
Buhari’s action and the refusal of the APC to support the National Conference were repeated almost by every speaker as they gave reasons for backing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
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.
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.