Leaders of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) and Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) have explained that the possibility of president Jonathan to effect the recommendations of the national conference informed their choice of supporting his re-election bid.
They explained this at the Post National Conference Summit which was held at the hilltop Premier Hotel, Ibadan.
Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who chaired the occasion, went historical,recalling that the Yoruba struggle for true federalism and to the colonial period, which he recalled eventually led to the introduction a different constitution for each of the three former regions.
According to him, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his compatriots had insisted on allowing each region to move at its own pace as practised in the First Republic.
The Afenifere leader added that the determination always led to calls and moistened n a national conference since the period of military nursing which turned the country into a unitary state. Adebanjo pointed out that the fact that Jonathan eventually conveyed a national conference and that the confab producd a document that is able to restructure Nigeria in one with the aspirations of the Yoruba made the Yoruba socio-political group queued behind him.
“We are not here because of the interest of political parties but because of the Yoruba race. Many of those shouting ‘Buhari’ today don’t know what we went through. Our duty is to educate them of the past
“Before independence, the clamour was that one region dominated the other. When we say we are supporting Jonathan, we know where we are coming from.
We believe anyone from the South is our man no matter where he comes from.
He said: “Awolowo was able to perform because of the regional autonomy guaranteed by the constitution. Even in 1963 we had regional autonomy. Things were okay until 1966 when military staged a coup and restructured the country from regionalism to unitary system. By the time we returned, we insisted on restructuring back to regionalism. States and councils were created in the north against the south.
Afenifere continued to clamour for confab. Hence, one of us, Sen. Femi Okunrounmu, was appointed to kick-start it.
We are insisting on confab recommendations because it is in line with the aspirations of the Yoruba.
The Natuonal Leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti and other speakers agreed with Adebanjo.
In his own welcome address, the convened and Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, said the programme was aimed at mapping out the future of the Yoruba in Nigeria.