Afenifere endorses Jonathan


THE leadership of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan in next month’s presidential election.

   The decision was taken in Akure yesterday after a 90-minute meeting attended by Jonathan at the residence of the group’s leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.

   It was gathered that the endorsement was sequel to the extraction of commitment to the implementation of the recommendations of last year’s national conference where far-reaching decisions about the restructuring of Nigeria were taken.

   Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who accompanied the President to the meeting attended by 

  Vice President Namadi Sambo, PDP Ntional Chairman, Ahmadu Alli, Ondo Chieftain of the party, Olusola Oke, said Afenifere was swayed into the president’s side because of his commitment to restructuring Nigeria.

  Earlier, Afenifere, rose from the meeting and called on voters from the South West geo-political zone to vote for a presidential candidate that believes in and is ready to implement the recommendations of last year’s national conference.

   The decision was made at the meeting which was called to review the political situation in the country especially the coming elections and attended by representatives of the body from all the Yoruba-speaking states in the Akure home of its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.

    Members of the group were also billed to receive Jonathan, but as at the time of filing this report, the president, who was to arrive in Akure yesterday and address a political rally today, was still being awaited.

   Apparently, the leadership of the Afenifere wanted to extract a commitment from Jonathan on the national confab agenda before they support him in next month’s election.

   The group also expressed doubt about the feasibility of the election holding as scheduled because of the controversy over the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide needed Permanent Voters Card (PVC) for majority of voters.

   A communiqué read by the group’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin said: “On the 2015 general elections, as far as Afenifere is concerned, the presidential election is to decide between two options, freedom or slavery. We have elected to choose freedom, freedom from bondage, internal enslavement and internal colonialism that holds most Nigerians down under the bastion of domination and we are convinced that the 2014 national conference report has laid the basis for the proper restructuring of the country.

   “That the most important change that Nigeria desires this time is structural change. The change that ignores the restructuring of Nigeria is not a change. Most of the issues that are confronting us, insecurity, corruption have their link with the faulty constitution that we have and to change the constitution is the most important change that we need.

   “Also, we want to warn in Yoruba land that we should be careful of those who promise change and do not believe in the restructuring of Nigeria and those who boycotted National Conference and described it as diversion.

   “Afenifere believes that election is a democratic contest about party programme and not about using terror to frighten them into submission that the use of terror to demand for the mandate of the people must be discouraged, not to reward anybody that tries to terrorise them to access power.

   “Meeting viewed with seriousness the share incompetence on the part of INEC, the INEC that wanted to create 30,000 polling units few weeks to the election has yet to distribute almost 30 million voter’s cards. When you look at the table INEC has given, what they tell us is that in each state, this is the PVC received hiding the total number of registered voters.

   “As at today, over 15 million voters have not received their cards. This is 54 million. There are 14 million voters cards that are yet to arrive the country. If we put them together it is almost half of the total electorate that are yet to collect their voter’s cards.

   “We want to warn that any election conducted on the basis of disenfranchising almost half of the electorate, the outcome will not be credible or acceptable.

   “The 2014 national conference has become a campaign issue. Anybody that did not participate in it or does not believe in it does not love our people. They want to drag them into slavery. With the report of 2014, we believe we have crossed Jordan, we are yet to get to promise land but we should not be sent to Egypt.

   “The constitution says election should hold not earlier than 150 days to handover date and not later than 30 days. February 14 INEC has chosen, for us May 29 is sacrosanct, there is no controversy over this. Within those days between February 14 and 30 days to May 29, INEC has a mandate to make sure that most voters are not disenfranchised. If INEC is able to give all registered voters their PVC before February 14, all well and good.”

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