•General Alani Akinrinade
A former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade, says the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, is wrong.
He said while members of the organisation might have their political leanings, it was wrong for some Yoruba leaders to use the platform to canvass for votes for a particular candidate.
Akinrinade, who was a Chief of Army Staff before becoming a CDS, told our correspondent in an interview on Tuesday that the meeting of the Yoruba Assembly, which holds in Ibadan on Thursday, would sensitise people of the South-West on what to do at the forthcoming elections.
He said the Yoruba agenda brought before the National Conference failed.
The general also faulted the pro-Jonathan Yoruba leaders who said that the implementation of the report would benefit the people.
He noted that the recommendations of the confab were below Yoruba’s target and wondered why the leaders would base their endorsement on that.
He said, “When the Yoruba sent their delegates, the cardinal points that can make a federation were practically not given to us. I can assure you, we missed all the targets. It will be preposterous of us now to expect that by the time that report is executed, we will end up with true federalism.
“We want to set the record straight that there are major things that have to be done before we can have a true federalism. It cannot be done by one President alone. Unless you change the rule now, you will need all the national and state assemblies to agree with you.”
He said Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, who has been holding several post-confab conferences, was only pushing the agenda of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said, “By the look of things, it appears that they (Afenifere) were set up principally to canvass votes for Jonathan so that he might execute all the decisions reached at the last national confab.
“The argument was that he (Jonathan) was the one who convened the confab and that is the reason why he should go back there and execute the report of the confab.
“Obviously, it is being led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko and he is a PDP man. The kind of things that came out as the outcome (of their meetings) is an orchestration. You endorsed in a multi-party state and you’re expecting Yoruba to endorse one man in a party. That seems to be the purpose.”
Akinrinade wondered why Jonathan had not implemented at least one of the recommendations of the confab over six months after the conference was held and yet the issue was being used to drum support for the President.