Saturday, 29 November 2014

I Regret Not Having Yoruba As Speaker – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday publicly lamented that he was unable to make a Yoruba politician the Speaker of the House of Representatives after 2011 general elections because of the selfish agenda of some Yoruba leaders.
He spoke at the Yoruba Unity Summit with the theme: “National Development: Wither the Yoruba,” which held at the Oduduwa Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Jonathan who was the special guest of honour at the event organised by the Yoruba Unity Forum, said he recognised the Southwest as a key player in the country and was still haunted by that unfortunate incident in 2011 when his desire to repay the Yoruba for their support for him was lost.
Mulikat Akande had then vied to be Speaker of the House of Representatives but lost to Aminu Tambuwal of the Northwest because of inadequate support from her Southwestern colleagues.

Recalling the events, the President said: “I thank you all for the support in the past elections. One of the problems I faced in the National Assembly is that I felt the right thing should be done because our party, the PDP, has a formula.
“We have six geo-political zones in the country and when the President emerges from one of the geo-political zones, the Vice-President emerges from another geo-political zone, the rest core offices, the Senate President, the Speaker, Secretary to Federal Government, the chairman of the party must come from different geo-political zones.
“The idea is that, whenever we are distributing board positions and some of these appointments, whenever we are appointing ministers, all these people sit to take decisions. In that case we want all the geo-political zones to be in the inner caucus that take critical decisions.
“The last time, it was difficult for me because I insisted that the Southwest must get the Speaker. Of course, I couldn’t go through with it because some of us within the Southwest didn’t want it, based on some personal reasons. I am still suffering from that till today.
“That is one of the reasons the leaders said, this time around, we must work collectively so that whatever position is zoned to the Southwest, we should get that position. People should not rob it from us.”
He expressed his belief in one Nigeria and challenged the Yoruba to be united even as he declared that the contributions of the Southwest to national unity would always be cherished.
Jonathan also noted the significance of the Southwest in the nation’s economy as he recalled that the region, particularly Lagos and Ogun states, control 55 per cent of the economy, a reason he remains committed to providing the people with infrastructure, electricity and other resources to further boost the economy.
“With unity, we can go to the moon. The Yoruba will not be left behind,” he added.
The President noted that the Yoruba had joined the national political fray with vigour and enterprise and were never afraid of internal debate among themselves, a reason for their being in the vanguard of demand for a national conference, as had just been concluded by his administration.
He again promised to implement the recommendations of the conference although he pointed out that there were some things he could not say or do immediately, as they could be deliberately given partisan consideration by desperate politicians who “are even ready to kill.”
Also, Akande noted that the Southwest had been relegated in the political arrangement of the nation not due to any deliberate action of Jonathan but because of Yoruba disunity.
“We should support his re-election bid, and we believe that he will reward us by reinstating us to our rightful place,” she stated.
In his fiery remarks, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, urged President Jonathan not to be bothered or intimidated by former President Obasanjo’s criticisms because they are only made out of spite, which cannot be appeased.
He advised the President to stop currying Obasanjo’s favour and replying his several jabs because the former President would never support Jonathan’s re-election bid.
He said: “You know it more than you know me. He will never want a man with an independent mind. Mr. President, you have refused to tread the path of unconstitutionality. You have refused to level Borno and other states like he levelled Odi. You have taken your time to respect human lives by not committing crimes against humanity. He won’t like that.
“And, Your Excellency, the more you try to curry (favour of) Obasanjo, the more he will continue to despise you.
“If you continue to curry him, we are not going to curry him. He doesn’t like people that give him respect. I plead with Your Excellency. Your second term has been concluded in heaven. Fear not.
“When Obasanjo accuses people and government of the day of corruption, what happened to the N50 million shared during the third term agenda?
“I earned less than N300, 000 as governor of Ekiti State during my first coming. Your Excellency, the donation of N10 million to Obasanjo Library, what do you call that? That is corruption.
“Go and look for the Code of Conduct, the forms filled by President Obasanjo and his wealth today. We knew when he came back from prison. We knew the situation, we knew his wealth when he came out.
“If you don’t speak each time Obasanjo speaks in the papers, we must reply him. When people talk and we are addressing you here, that is not the issue. If he talks again, we will give him an answer.
“You are not supposed to reply him. You are a complete gentlemen. Decorum is part of business. We are telling you again, the moment he says the next one, we will engage him. This is not a country where after serving your own tenure, what you cannot take, you are giving it to others.”
Chairman of the National Conference Planning Committee, and Yoruba elder statesman, Femi Okurounmi, spoke in the same vein, as he tasked Jonathan not to betray millions of Nigerians by succumbing to blackmail and intimidation ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
He said the religious intolerance in some parts of the country is quite odious and it was no happenstance that as elections draw nearer the incidences of terror become fiercer.
“They just want to deter you. I don’t think you should succumb to blackmail and intimidation. It will be a let down to millions of Nigerians who believe that any tribe or group in Nigeria can become leader of this country. Victory will be yours in 2015,” he told the President.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, led some other traditional rulers to the event.
However, some students of the institution were not comfortable with the event and staged a protest, attempting to haul missiles at President Jonathan during the visit.
The placards-wielding students who gathered at the Oduduwa Hall, venue of the conference, booed and shouted at the President for the rot in the educational system.
The irate protesters shouted unprintable words at the President and other notable politicians who attended the event.
The students were armed with placards with inscriptions like “we condemn Jos killing of students, students are not chicken”, Don’t sell education as you sold electricity, We demand total reversal of 2014 hiked school fees, and We are not responsible for Jonathan’s ineptitude,” among other inscriptions.
The students who were in their hundreds barricaded the road leading to the institution’s Sport Centre where the chopper wearing the seal of the Federal Government and marked Nigerian Air Force, NAF-280, requesting that President Jonathan address them before departing the campus.
In the ensuing protest, the convoy of President Jonathan was delayed for few minutes as the students refused the President and his entourage passage to board the chopper despite pleadings by some security operatives.
Fayose who attempted to pacify the angry students was booed.
The vehicle conveying the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, was not spared as students sat on the bonnet for minutes before he was eventually allowed passage.
The students were angry because of the disruption of vehicular movement by the security operatives, as both commercial and private vehicles were not allowed on the campus some hours before the arrival of Mr. President.
The students who had examination were forced to trek long distances to their examination halls. They expressed displeasure at the stress they were subjected to owing to the President’s visit.
Via - dailyindependent

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