The pan Yoruba organisation, Afenifere, has said that the South West would prefer to vote for a presidential candidate who would push for the restructuring of the country, over the prospect of a 2023 presidency.
Speaking to Daily Sun yesterday Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) is deceiving the South West by promising them the 2023 presidency, a promise the party also made to the South East.
Odumakin said Yoruba will vote for restructuring over the prospect of a 2023 presidency because it is the only condition in which the zone can rapidly develop.
He accused those promising the South West the 2023 presidency of selfishness, and added that the fact President Muhammadu Buhari comes from Katsina has not saved the state from insecurity; as such, Yoruba have nothing much to gain from having the presidency.
Odumakin said: “I assure you that even the most illiterate of South West voters understand what restructuring is because they lived their lives when the Western Region had autonomy.
“They remember that we had the first television station; under federalism. They know that if Pa Awolowo had to go to Abuja to get a licence for a television station, the South West would probably not have had the first station. They know what it means to have free education, but, Yourba people are now beggars under this arrangement.
“Yoruba voters prefer restructuring, which would speed up development instead of a 2023 South West presidency which is actually a power grab for a few people.
“The 2023 promise of a South West presidency is just about the presidential ambitions of Tinubu, (Vice President Yemi) Osinbajo and (Babatunde) Fashola. President Buhari is from Katsina, yet, the governor of his state, Bello Masari, recently said Katisna has become inhabitable because it has been overrun by armed bandits.
“Why has Katisna as a whole not benefitted from the fact that their son is the president? This present presidential structure cannot benefit anybody except those who are stealing money, buying banks, telecom companies, airlines and those who, five years ago could not afford N2, 000 for transport fare but are now billionaires.”
Earlier, Lagos State Director General of the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential Campaign, Moshood Salvador, accused former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and Afenifere of deceiving the South West with the promise of restructuring. Speaking at his Lagos residence, yesterday, Salvador alleged the PDP presidential candidate is insincere and is using the promise of restructuring the country as a ploy to get South West votes.
He also criticised Afenifere, for endorsing Atiku’s candidacy.
“It is not in the power of Atiku to implement restructuring; he can only lie to use it to get votes from the South West.
“After promising that he will restructure if he wins, after six months, he will tell the country that it would not be possible to call for a referendum because the National Assembly is not ready to set itself aside. Atiku knows that restructuring is not possible but he is just saying it to get votes. Those are the kind of lies that politicians are known for.
“When these old men from the South West, who are pushing for restructuring were much younger, what did they do? The one that joined politics at the age of 27 is now over 90. They didn’t achieve restructuring when they were younger, is it now that they are above 90 that they think they can achieve it? We agree that restructuring is a southern agenda, but, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was there for eight years and he did not do restructuring because he knows the truth, which is that it is not possible.
“Goodluck Jonathan was there for five years and he did not do restructuring. All he was concerned about was oil derivation; which was more important to the South South where he came from.
“How come it is now the South West that is championing the issue of restructuring which we all know that is difficult to achieve?
“Even if we want a referendum, the National Assembly has to be set aside, but, are they ready to be set aside?
“No. Even if the National Assembly is ready to be set aside and we are asked to use our voter’s card to vote for or against an issue on ground, we would still not win because restructuring is a southern agenda. The zone would lose as the three northern zones have more registered voters than the three southern zones. Once you know that this would be very difficult to achieve, you don’t push your people out to agitate.
“What you need to do is to strategise and carry other northern states along so that they would know the advantages of restructuring.”
In October 2018, Afenifere, Ohanaeze N’digbo and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) indicated their resolve to mobilise support for the presidential candidate of any political party that is ready to restructure Nigeria.
On its part, Ohanaeze N’digbo, the apex socio-political body of the Igbo, also said it would vote for any presidential candidate who showed a “sincere” intention to restructure Nigeria on assuming office, a sentiment PANDEF National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, said they shared.