By Chris Nomjov
Legal luminary and renowned human rights activists, Femi Falana has berated members of the pan-Yoruba group Afenifere for endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term. Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria said those who anointed President Jonathan for another four years were only fighting for their stomach.
He added that the Yoruba agenda, which was tabled before the National Conference, was a complete failure and disaster. Falana stated this while addressing protesters at a pro-democracy rally organised by human rights group, Nigerians United for Democracy.
He said, “Some people claim to be speaking for the Yoruba while some pretend to be speaking for the Igbo while some pretend to be speaking for the Hausa, the Edo and the rest. Please, go and check all their agenda. None of their agenda relates to women.
“Go and look at the Afenifere agenda or Ohanaeze. None is talking about unemployment or the future of the youths. It is about who goes to Abuja to occupy a particular post. It is not about empowering the people. So, they do not speak for us. “You know dollars is being distributed in Lagos. After collecting dollars in Lagos, they did not know how to justify their curious endorsements and then they said they were endorsing him (Jonathan) because he was going to implement the resolution of the National Conference.
“I was in that conference and I tell you that the so-called Yoruba agenda in the National Conference was defeated. Restructuring of the South-West was defeated. The parliamentary system agenda was defeated. The state police agenda was defeated, regional autonomy was defeated. So, what is the Yoruba agenda that they are talking about?
“They wanted Land Use Decree removed from the constitution but it was defeated. They wanted a special status for Lagos State but it was defeated. So, I challenge them to tell us the agenda that was won that they are now using to deceive our people.”
Falana further stated that the confab was a total waste of time and resources as none of the issues discussed had been implemented by Jonathan’s administration. He said, “The ruling class did not want minimum wage in the constitution but we fought them and won. Labour matter was put in the exclusive list of the confab. When the report is implemented, if you have no job, you can go to court and demand the government to pay you unemployment benefits. We won that.
“Anybody that is sick shall go to the hospital at the expense of the Nigerian state but the Afenifere is not celebrating that. “President Jonathan got that report endorsed by 492 of us that attended the conference in July last year and he assured us that he would implement anything that we recommend but instead, he set up another committee of seven people headed by the Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to recommend the implementation of the recommendations. You can see the joke and that is that some people are celebrating”.