National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams has said that only President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy can protect the collective interest of the Yoruba nation.
He said that the implementation of the recommendations of the National Conference organized by President Jonathan would largely address the long dream of the Yoruba for a restructured Nigeria.
Otunba Adams made the remarks yesterday when he received the Special Adviser to the Presidency on the Amnesty Programme, Mr Kingsley Kuku in his Lagos home.
The OPC leader enjoined people of the South West not to allow opportunists and those who do not have the interest of Nigeria at heart to deceive them.
He said that the National Coordination Council of the OPC decided to support Jonathan after exhaustive deliberations and conclusion that only his candidacy would make the Yoruba to realize its long dream for restructuring the nation.
His words: “Ten years ago, we of the OPC always shied away from politics but we discovered that if you do not give your people a direction, opportunists and those who do not love this country would cash in on that and misdirect them.
“It is because of that, that we from the National Coordinating Council of the OPC decided to support President Goodluck Jonathan. It is not a decision by Gani Adams alone. We are supporting Jonathan because of the issue of National Conference which will address the needs of the Yoruba nation.
“We have been clamouring for national conference since 1992 but all the past governments have not been able to organize it.
“Even our kinsman in 2005 organized the National Political Reform Conference and gave the members conditions unlike Jonathan who gave us a blank cheque except on the issue of the unity of Nigeria.
“In 2005, there was a stalemate and we could not complete it. But somebody from the minority in the person of President Jonathan just decided on October 1, 2013 to organize the conference.
“If Jonathan implements the recommendations of the conference, Nigeria would become a changed country compared to those who did not want the conference to hold and are clamouring for change.
“You cannot change a nation when you have a bad constitution, a constitution written by one person. Jonathan is a cool headed President fit for our young democracy. Nigeria was last year adjudged number one in Africa. So, what do you want from President Jonathan?”
He urged the Yoruba not to buy into the propaganda of a few politicians who are merely working to further their selfish interest.
Speaking earlier, Kuku commended the Yoruba for their steadfastness, saying that just like in 2011, the region would determine the outcome of the coming presidential election.
He recalled the effort which the Yoruba nation has committed in the struggle to entrench democracy in the nation and noted that Jonathan’s election in 2011 was largely because of the support from the South West zone.
“In 2011, the South West determined the result of the general election. President Goodluck Jonathan won overwhelmingly because of the support from leaders like you (Adams). The South West people were unanimous in their support for Mr President in that election.
“Again, as providence would have it, the South West is going to determine the election on March 28 that will see to the re-election of Mr President for another term of four years.
“It is clear to me that President Goodluck Jonathan’s election and re-election ultimately lies with the South West and it therefore lies with you as one of the leaders that supported him then.
“The South West has contributed so much to the stability of this country. The democracy we have enjoyed from 1999 till date is the sweat, blood and toil of mostly South Westerners and we as South Westerners cannot allow people to mix with wrong elements to derail this democracy at this point.
“We are here to formally once again thank you for providing leadership and to request you to support Mr President Jonathan’s bid for a second term. He is not perfect and there are so many things he could have wanted to do but would not achieve that after one term of four years.
“He has been distracted for three out of the four years. Even at that, his achievements are legendary for people to see in all sectors. I would love to tell you that if this President is given four more years, he is going to take us out of the woods. His next four years would put us on the path of democratic governance and the nation would now be entrenched democratically”.
He said that by 2019 when Jonathan would be handing over to a brand new President, the country would have its pride of place in the comity of nations.