Barely a week after the postponement of the general elections were announced by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, the way the popularity of President Goodluck Jonathan has been soaring in the South-West geo-political zone of the country is interesting.
It beats the imagination of even the book makers, that, Dr. Jonathan, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), could be celebrated in a zone considered to be the exclusive enclave of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of which General Muhammadu Buhari is the flag bearer!
Before anybody could say ‘Ebele Azikiwe,’ the respectable pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere, which is the umbrella of the Yoruba nation came out with blanket endorsement for Jonathan’s candidature for the March 28 presidential election.
After a close door meeting with the reputable body by the leadership of the group under Chief Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, Ondo State, Afenifere proclaimed Jonathan, “our candidate for the presidential election.”
Making the proclamation to the public was the National Publicity of the organization, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who quoted Afenifere as saying that, for now, President Goodluck Jonathan was the best for Nigeria today.
And to strengthen the resolve of the Yoruba nation on Jonathan’s presidential project is a respected lawyer and die-hard Awoist, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, who reasoned that, “for the sake of equity and justice, Jonathan should be allowed to go for a second term.”
Apart from doing well, the highly cerebral legal practitioner in his 80s based his support for Jonathan on, “what do we have and what we have been having.” According to him, in a situation, where since 1960, majority of the presidents and Heads of State came from the North, it stands to reason that, for the sake of equity, justice and peace, other parts of the country should be allowed to have the fill of the coveted office.
With the above argument coupled with President Jonathan’s outstanding performance, “I think we should give him our mandate for a second term,” observing that, “Jonathan is either the third or fourth president from the south.”
Corroborating Sir Ajayi’s submission is another erudite lawyer, respected Awoist and unbowed democrat, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who reminded that, what is happening to Jonathan now as president from a minority group is the manifestation of the prediction of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Going down the memory lane, the 87 years old activist said, “the question of South-south is a matter of principle of Papa Awolowo that a minority would also have the right to aim for the highest position in the country.”
He said, “the recent national conference we had has taken care of everything concerning Nigeria,” stating that, “like the issue of power, it is no longer going to be the North-west because he never it gets to the North, it must rotate within all other regions in the North.”
He spoke further in a recent interview thus: “the same thing for the South, it is no longer about South-west but all other regions in the South such that everybody now know when each of the regions would be president, it is no longer the issue of we are born to rule.”
On reason for his support for Jonathan, Adebanjo said, “it is because he is the only man who can implement the recommendations of the national conference which was set up to bring equity to Yoruba land and to Nigeria,” assuring that, “he is the only man and once he does that, all these things we are complaining about will be rectified.”
He warned that Yoruba would be making a big mistake and digging their graves if they don’t support Jonathan.”
His words: “They may not listen but, I, Ayo Adebanjo, I am telling them. I am 87 years old, I can die any moment, so that whenever it happened, they would be able to say that indeed, that man told us.”
National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams has also thrown his weight behind President Jonathan for a second term in office. He described him as, “the better candidate with right character, temperament and capability worthy of upholding the unity of the country given its diversity, and transforming its economy for the betterment of the citizens.”
According to him, honest study conducted by his group showed that, “placed side by side, President Goodluck Jonathan has more character of leadership quality.”
The Founder and President of the OPC, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, who doubles as the National Leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), has also directed his party not to field a presidential candidate on March 28, saying, “we have endorsed President Jonathan as our presidential candidate.
Joining the league of pan-Yoruba groups that are pledging their support for Jonathan presidency from 2015 is an organization known as Ominira Yoruba, which spokesman, Morgan Omodu said has endorsed Jonathan’s candidature for coming presidential election.