‘Jonathan’s focus on South West belated’
In the last three weeks, President Goodluck Jonathan has concentrated more of his campaigns on the South West geo-political zone but Tokunbo Wahab, a lawyer and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in this interview with ABIODUN FANORO described the efforts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate as belated.
The president’s new focus on the South West
If Mr. President likes, let him come and stay or move the Presidency to Lagos, South-West voters are too sophisticated. We compare apples with apples and not apples with lemon. This election is going to be a referendum on the performance of the government in the centre, a referendum on Mr. President on his performance in the South West. It is about what he has done for the people. It is not just enough to come to the Southwest and dole out foreign currency, no, we have told our people to collect the money and still go ahead to vote against Jonathan.
It is interesting to note that Mr. President failed to realize the importance of the South-West in the past four years until the past few weeks. It is also understandable why he is panicking and trying to woo the region. The North-West alone has 18 million registered voters out of which 16 million people have picked up their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs). It will also interest you to note that the North-West is Major-General Muhammadu Buhari’s political camp and also a no go area for Jonathan because he has done badly in terms of the security of the area. So his handlers are selling him the idea to go towards the South-West with Lagos having over 5.9 million registered voters. But unfortunately for him, we could not see what he has done in the region.
His focus on this region is belated and of no effect on us, but it is good that President Jonathan is empowering our people personally with dollars. It has an indirect positive effect on the people. He is probably giving them their own share of the national cake. That would tell you how desperate these people are. Can we say the visit was out of the love and respect he has for the people in the region for him to be here for almost 10 days running without break? Certainly it is not so.
Jonathan’s endorsement by Afenifere
In Yoruba land we respect our elders but we do not take command from them. They know that South-West voters ask
fundamental questions before they vote. This tradition has not changed and would not change. Afenifere that endorsed him has lost relevance and that is the truth.
It lost relevance because the elders did not know when to draw the line between partisan politics and the Yoruba socio-political organization.
We love and respect them, they are our leaders, fathers and grandfathers, but when it comes to issues like these, I believe they should be more circumspect and stay off politics. But if they choose to dance with Goodluck Jonathan on March 28, then they are out for a shocker from which many of them may not recover.
And talking about an agreement between him and the Afenifere, I look at it from the same way he once signed (allegedly) the one term agreement and fragrantly denied it. If at all he signed that agreement with them, is the agreement enforceable? By the way this is second term so it does not make any sense to us because he won’t need their support again. Let him come to Lagos and stay here, he is welcome but we are marching forward for Buhari on March 28. It is irrevocable.
The South-West has a greater stake in the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency. Remember that Osibanjo is married to the grand-daughter of the late sage and Yoruba leader of all time, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. That is a greater stake to the South-West. That is what we are telling them.
We are looking at the past, present and the future. We are unmasking the mask to look at what is behind the mask and we are moving on as we look at the past, the present and the future. Jonathan cannot be trusted; the people of the South-West know this very well. When the region worked for him in 2011 how did he pay us back? It is even a public knowledge that our leader who helped him to get the support of the region is now being paid back with threat to his life.
I will not want to discuss President Jonathan as a person; rather I will dwell on issues, the PDP and the chances of my party in the coming elections. I want to tell the whole country that this election is a referendum on the President that inherited a better economy and a better state than what we have today. It is a referendum on his party, the PDP, as it relates to poverty index, exchange rate, unemployment index and the rest. That goodwill Jonathan got from the South-West and Nigeria as a whole has been totally filtered away. My people say ‘‘Once beaten twice shy.”