Pa Adebanjo, Fasehun, Odubakin and lesson of history

Afenifere, the Yoruba political organisation made up of about six Yoruba revered elders,   supported by Frederick Fasehun and Gani Adams of Oodua Peoples Congress, endorsed President Jonathan for another term of four years after six years of less-than-inspiring leadership during a summit recently organized by Olusegun Mimiko in Akure.  They have since tried without success to find justification for their embarrassing action. They have deployed message of fear and hatred and sometimes turning logic on its head, all in attempt to salvage what is left of their hard earned reputation.

Afenifere’s national publicity secretary, in an interview with The Punch last Sunday, told Nigerians that “Leaders of Afenifere and Oodua Peoples Congress endorsed Jonathan because he promised to implement the report of the Confab”. Asked what he would do if Jonathan reneged on his promise to implement the confab report, he says  ‘When he met with us in Akure, he told us categorically that he would implement the confab report within the 12 months of his return to office.  He gave reasons why he traded in Buhari whom he worked for during the 2011 election for Jonathan: “The characters around him today are not the same in 2011”; there is ‘no difference between APC and PDP’; ‘APC governors like PDP governors are corrupt’. Probably realizing he has been unable to even convince himself let alone his critics, he added ‘those who shout ‘change’ today are political merchants”.

Fasehun’s justification was scandalous. According to him, “Some people said they were born to rule”; and for that reason, he says, “Jonathan is the only good thing available to Nigeria and it is either Jonathan or nothing.” Fasehun’s appeal to Yoruba people not to vote Buhari because ‘‘Some people said they were born to rule”. has finally exposed the hypocrisy of a man who has always said he was promoting national unity and cohesion.  Fasehun about two years ago made elaborate show of accompanying Major Mustapha, Abacha’s chief security officer who was also claimed to be the head of his killer squad, to Kano following his discharge by the court at the behest of the Jonathan administration. (Obasanjo made reference to those who gave state support to secure freedom for alleged master mind of many assassinations during the Abacha brutal regime)

Pa Adebanjo’s reasons are no less nebulous and ill-defined. He says for instance “We are supporting Jonathan because of consistency of the Yoruba people to have this country restructured so that it can develop”. He then vaguely added “voting Buhari/Osinbajo ticket “is a mistake Nigeria cannot afford” because Jonathan is committed to implementing the recommendation of the confab report”. He then went on to add: “once General Muhammadu Buhari becomes President, the Yoruba people should prepare for another era of setbacks and sufferings.” Lacking in rhyme and logic, Pa Adebanjo then decided to drop the magic name: “If we fail to achieve this, I don’t know how Papa Obafemi Awolowo will be feeling in his grave.”

But I can hazard a guess for our ever coherent Pa Adebanjo who, weighed down by his own contradictions has suddenly become incoherent. Awo watching from his grave would feel betrayed by the pettiness of those who swear by his name but who today promote the likes of Ayo Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko who behaves like a wife with five husbands as role models for our children.

Both Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Olusegun Mimiko who decided to rake up the confab report submitted since last July on the eve of election know that both Yoruba submissions on parliamentary system and regionalism were roundly defeated at the confab. They are aware no item described as ‘restructuring’ can be found among the 600 resolutions contained in the report. Besides it is obvious President Jonathan was not interested in the report. After all, there are items which will not require constitutional amendments which could have been treated as policy implementations if President Jonathan was truly committed to the confab.

In any case, except Pa Adebanjo, Femi Okunroumu, Yinka Odumakin and Mimiko their newly installed Yoruba leader, the Yoruba know President Jonathan who subverted his party constitution in order to become president and dismissed Obasanjo who had aided him in the subversion as a ‘motor park tout’ when he was reminded of his solemn undertaking to spend six years, cannot keep promises. Mimiko who is also on record as having at different periods dumped AD for PDP, PDP for Labour; hobnobbed with Asiwaju Tinubu’s AC to secure his stolen mandate by PDP; and as  Labour governor, he sided with PDP ‘governors without character’, to publicly proclaim 16 greater than 19 following a Nigerian Governors Forum election lost by President Jonathan’s preferred candidate and who has once again now dumped the Labour party to become the chief  promoter of Jonathan in Yoruba nation as part of his strategy to remain relevant after his second term in office. He is a leader who doesn’t believe in anything.

Adebanjo says “once General Muhammadu Buhari becomes President, the Yoruba people should prepare for another era of setbacks and sufferings.”  He is not worried the ‘era of setbacks and sufferings’ that has been in place in the last 16 years will not suddenly disappear with the re-election of President Jonathan. And because of his petty ego war with his political son, Bola Tinubu, he has decided to work against Buhari/Osibanjo victory and the prospect that such a victory will for the first time in our nation’s history  allow the main- stream Yoruba political tendency to participate in governance of the country. Pa Adebanjo was ready to throw away the baby with the bath-water.

Playing the Abuja script, Femi Okunrounmu, read a statement purportedly on behalf of the Yoruba, threatening fire and brimstone if the election date was not shifted. No sooner than that was achieved than Mimiko, a master of political intrigue organized a summit of Yoruba to talk about a dead confab report. Jonathan followed up with a visit to the West where he allegedly dispensed favours and patronage in cash and kind ranging from dollars and influence to satisfy the heart desires of everyone who subscribed to Mimiko’s brand of leadership which is not only strange to Yoruba people but equally alien to proud Ondo people who are not known to call a spade by any other name other than its name.

Today in the West, we have the reincarnation of the forces at play in the First Republic – men who operate without scruples and who while advancing their personal interests pretend to fight the Yoruba cause. As we move towards March 28 election, the Yoruba youths like their counterparts elsewhere in the country must reject hate messages of leaders who use the name of the masses to seek relevance.  It is tragic that the same forces at play today have been the same all through Nigeria’s history. A small clique of parasites from the north, east and west who falsely swear by the name of the people to advance their selfish interests.

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