The Yoruba nation risks exposing its people to terrible circumstances and fortunes should they cast their votes for General Mohammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 14 election.
This is the belief of elders of the Yoruba nation that have been commenting on the possibility of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC, railroading the people to vote for the party’s candidate.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting between the leaders of pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, and President Goodluck Jonathan in Akure, Ondo State on Tuesday, elders of the Yoruba nation were unanimous in their decision to support the candidature of President Jonathan because of his belief in the unity and equality of all component groups that make up the country.
They also cite the antecedents of Buhari that has shown him as disrespectful to the culture, history and leadership of the Yoruba nation.
Speaking on the candidature of Buhari, Alhaji Sulaimon Olumolade, a cocoa merchant from Ibadan, Oyo State, who was at the meeting, recalled how Buhari had imprisoned past leaders of the Yoruba nation like Pa Lateef Jakande, former Governor of Lagos State, Chief Adekunle Ajasin of Ondo State and Bisi Onabanjo of Ogun State, even when the panels set up to investigate their tenures in office between 1979 and 1983 did not find them to have corruptly enriched themselves before Buhari overthrew them in a coup.
Olumolade said: “Buhari was wicked to the Yoruba nation. How does he expect us to vote for him when we have not forgotten the treatment he meted out to Pa Ajasin and Chief Onabanjo, two men that he could not find guilty of corruption but whom he still detained for over 20 months? We do not have such a short memory. We do not want someone who disrespects our people as president.”
Another elder, who simply gave his name as Demola Ibiwoye, also said it will be tough for any true Yoruba man to vote for Buhari because his antecedents speak of disrespect to the people of the region.
“Buhari suspended the Ooni of Ife, Oba Alayeluwa Okunnade Sijuade, because he travelled to Israel with the late Emir of Kano. Who do you think would vote for such a person who has no respect for traditional authority? We the Yorubas rever our kings a lot and will vote against a man who has demonstrated such disrespect for our traditional rulers,” Ibiwoye stated.
Meanwhile, Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural body, on Tuesday endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for the February 14 election.
The endorsement was the outcome of the meeting the President had with the leaders of the group in Akure, Ondo State.
The meeting was held at the residence of the Leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, and attended by leaders from the South West geopolitical zone of the country.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted about one hour, the Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said the decision of the group was due to the commitment of the President to the National Conference.
Odumakin said Afenifere believed that the confab is the only thing that can liberate the nation.
He said the President had expressed his commitment to implement the report of the confab report.
Odumakin said Jonathan informed them at the meeting that Yoruba were the ones that were in the forefront of the clamour for the confab.
Also speaking, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, said what Afenifere did was an unequivocal endorsement of the President.
Mimiko said Afenifere expressed belief in the transformation agenda of Jonathan, describing it as systematic and strategic for the development of the nation.