By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The alleged secret moves by President Goodluck Jonathan to elongate his tenure of office by two years has been exposed.
Senator Babafemi Ojudu, representing Ekiti Central in the National Assembly, revealed how President Jonathan had been allegedly making spirited moves to ‘buy’ the lawmakers over into agreeing to his alleged agenda for the two-year tenure elongation.
He was speaking at a social discourse organised by the Afenifere Renewal Group, with the theme “The Change Yoruba will Vote For,” held at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan on Tuesday.
The lawmaker said: “Talking about two years, Jonathan has been pleading that they should allow him to do two more years because if we have an election and a northern Muslim becomes the winner, there may be problems in the Niger Delta. If you have him win over a northerner, there will be problem in the north. Therefore, the solution is for him to do two more years and at the end of the two more years, then you can have northern-northern and Muslim-Muslim candidates.
“That is their logic and that is what they are working towards. Left to us, they know it shall not pass. We must have to start crying out now and be strategic in our planning.”
He spoke further: “We are about entering into a very long night in Nigeria. It is a very sad thing that whenever we thought we have made a progress, we take ten steps backward. This is what is happening now. If anybody thinks there is going to be elections on March 28, the person is deceiving himself. All the people that are close to me, especially my friends, I told them a year ago that there would not be election and that they are just deceiving us.
“Some of us who are perceptive have seen this in the body language of our colleagues (lawmakers); the body language of the Senate President himself, David Mark. When we came back from the summer recess last year, he said that for him, it’s not time for election. We should not be thinking of elections now, rather we should be thinking of fighting Boko Haram. The moment we took him up on that, he reversed himself.
“There are conscious attempts at lobbying some of us to work against having elections. Therefore, where they have got to now is the preliminary stage. We will resume next week Tuesday. I can assure you, they may likely bring a motion asking us to adjourn or postpone the elections for six months because there is an ongoing war.
“The constitution allows this. The constitution states that where and when there is war in any corner of the country, the President can bring a motion to the National Assembly to postpone the elections for six months in the first instance and this can be passed by just a simple majority.
“If you think at this time they may not get simple majority, you may be wrong. This is because 80 per cent of the senators and House of Representatives members are not returning, not out of choice. Perhaps, I am the only person who is not returning out of choice in the entire National Assembly. All others attempted but they did not make it.
“This may surprise you, we are all broke. If they say we want to give you two more years as it is being quietly requested by Jonathan, virtually everybody will vote for that”.
The Guest Speaker at the forum, a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in his presentation entitled “Towards a Renascent Yoruba Nation,” had earlier denounced, in strong terms, the lack of sincerity on the part of political leaders in the country, a phenomenon which he described as the bane of the nation.
He, however, charged the Yoruba to insist on true federalism through restructuring since, according to him, “our people possess the capacity to turn things around positively.”
Akeredolu said: “The Yoruba people are known to frown at all acts unbecoming of an Omoluabi. We were not celebrating corrupt elements in the land. Now is the time to show impostors and interlopers that the Yoruba nation is ready to rise again.
“The national question must not be exploited for parochial benefits. The Yoruba nation and its aspirations must not be reduced to a brand of cheap merchandise to be auctioned to the most despicable characters who wield powers devoid of responsibility. The embarrassing activities of erstwhile respected members of our society should be a cause for concern”.
In her own remarks at the gathering, the wife of former Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, lamented the state of leadership in the country, observing that leadership was no longer defined in terms of merit, values and principle, clarity of visions and thoughts.
She opined that the institutions, which should be in the front burner in the making of a leader, had been bastardised.
“In this type of leadership generation, we must look for people who have what it takes to lead than people who are being propelled,” Mrs. Fayemi said.