‘Only few Yoruba in APC are against Jonathan’s reelection’


National Coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams said the decision to cancel the February 14 and 28 elections was a good omen for the country because if the elections have been held, Nigeria would have been in crisis by now. He dismissed the insinuation that the Yoruba people do not want Jonathan to return to power. SEYE OLUMIDE and DANIEL ANAZIA report.  

Election postponement 

IT could have been a national disaster if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had allowed the February 14 election to hold. The postponement was a wise decision and a good omen for this country. Although they tactically gave security reason, the major fault was from the commission.

  You can imagine what would happen in a situation where about 24 million Nigerians are disenfranchised as a result of inability to get Permanent Voters Cards (PVC). It could have resulted in serious chaos and anarchy, and from anarchy it will lead to diarchy. 

 When you deny just 100 000 people their right to vote, it could lead to serious issue and you know what that means, it could pull down a country. 

  Those of us that fought for this democracy and stood against military dictatorship are not up to 10, 000. Again, those of us that painstakingly fought for June 12, 1993 election, acclaimed to have been won by Chief Moshood Abiola, are not up to 5000, and you can see what happened from 1993 to 1999. 

 So, a situation where you deny 24 million people the right to vote would be disastrous. 

 Lagos State is strategic to the politics of Nigeria and to a large extent, it determines what happens in the country politically. About 45 per cent of those that registered in Lagos have not received their PVC as at February 14. Even Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who recently got his own, complained sometime ago that he couldn’t get his PVC; so also the Sultan of Sokoto and many other eminent personalities.

 If INEC had proceeded with the election as initially scheduled and with this challenge on ground, it would have resulted into a serious problem for this country. 

  I commend the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, for agreeing with 17 out of the 27 registered political parties to shift the election.

   We don’t need to deceive ourselves and we don’t need to package information to deceive the people. That is why I’m appealing to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to soft-pedal on their approach. When you have an opportunity to disseminate information or you are in control of 85 percent of the media against the incumbent president, you should not take it for granted that you can publish anything or deceive the people with concocted information, especially on the social media.

   I’m not a politician but I’m a student of politics. I studied Political Science and before that I have been following issues in Nigerian politics and could decipher the end of political situation from the evolving trends. 

  The important thing now is that the INEC should put its house in order and ensure that its logistics are well in place as we gradually move towards the new date for the election.

  In the history of this country, we have never had a situation where people voted with PVC. Also, in the history of this country, the electoral umpire have never told us that they are not ready for registered voters, thus denying about 34 percent their right to vote.   

  In 2011, during the National Assembly elections, there were some logistics problem and INEC had to postpone the election for one week and heaven did not fall. 

  Current political situation in the country

  I am not satisfied because our politics is coming in a different scenario and I will appeal to the media to be ready to balance their stories.  ,

  I remembered vividly during our struggles against the military, the media was our last hope. At the time, it was difficult to protest with strength of 100 people but the media was there to publish anything we said based on fair hearing. 

  I think Nigerians need to study trends because when you talk about corruption, people often look at the Federal Government. Is it only the Federal Government that is corrupt? Does it mean that the governors accusing President Goodluck Jonathan are not corrupt?  Council chairmen across the country only get paltry sum of the Local Government allocation from the Federation Account monthly. Where does the remaining go and what are the governors doing with it?

   For 16 years in Lagos, this has been going on. As it stands today, local councils cannot build markets for the communities or embark on other laudable projects in their domain. In the past, local governments build schools and other giant projects but nowadays, hardly can you see any council build a school from the scratch, instead they renovate depilated classrooms in primary schools.

 What do the governors do with their security votes ans how are they managing the ecological fund allocated to their states? What is happening with the money being voted for the State Universal Basic Educational Boards?

 Everybody is saying Jonathan is corrupt and his government is corrupt but we have three tiers of government, what is happening at the Local Government level? The Local Government chairmen have opportunity to spend the remaining money and their Internally Generated Revenues because they know that the governors who are their godfathers have taken large chunk from the allocation meant for them from the joint account. 

 We know some council chairmen in Lagos state who had nothing when they came to power but today; they own properties in choice places around the world.

  South West and Jonathan reelection bid

  We don’t need to deceive ourselves. The main group in Yoruba land, Afenifere has spoken. Afenifere, the political arrowhead of Yoruba people has declared support for Jonathan. Even Dr. Frederick Fasehun, the owner of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) has endorsed Jonathan, even before Afenifere. I don’t have any problem with Buhari but I have serious problem with the people that surround him. I am talking of no other person than Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. For the four years of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), they shut their doors against our organization. Definitely if this group has access to the central, they will shut more doors. Most importantly, the Afenifere have endorsed Jonathan, the OPC have endorsed Jonathan; the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Accord Party (AP) which happened to be among the main political parties in Yorubaland as well as the Labour Party (LP) have endorsed Jonathan. In the East, the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo has endorsed Jonathan and most groups in the Niger Delta have endorsed him as well. It is left for Tinubu, APC and a handful of social media to follow suit. Most religious bodies including Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have also endorsed the president.

  But some people are calling for the head of Jonathan in Lagos, why is this so?

  I honestly don’t know how you got this information because I know that only partisan politicians in the opposition want him out at all cost. As a grassroots leader in the South West, I want to say that Nigerians in the zone want Jonathan. Nigerians especially Lagosians want Jimi Agbaje as governor. Some who never loved Jonathan now want him because of Jimi Agbaje. In a nutshell, our own independent studies show that 85 per cent of Lagosians want Jonathan.

  The job of election is house-to-house campaign not using facebook to write jargons about personalities. 

 Violence during campaigns 

 I think it is as a result of some politicians who do not have conscience because I don’t see how and why you are employing violence in elections.  With the introduction of PVC it will be extremely difficult to rig this election.  With the system that Professor Jega used in 2011 and during some of the governorship elections that were held recently, it will be very difficult for people to rig.  This is because you go to the polling booth and do accreditation till 12 o’clock after which voting will start and it will end before 5 pm. At each polling booth the winner will be announced whether the exercise is for the state assemblies, the national assemblies, governorship or the presidential election. So at the polling booth you will know the winner.  And through the process you can use the figures by the returning officers to collate the results yourself even before the announcement of the results by INEC. So within three hours after election, the people of a state would have known who won among the parties.

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