It has been made known that President Goodluck Jonathan is not ready to sign any agreement with Yoruba leaders over the coming elections as expected.
Punch reports that although the president is ready to point at the positions he is willingly to dedicate to South-West if he wins the coming elections, he however is not ready to have it on paper. According to a reliable source close to the presidency, Jonathan would not go to the extent of signing a pact with the leaders or any South-West group.
Recall that during different meetings with some Yoruba leaders which was aimed at Jonathan soliciting for South-West's support concerning the forthcoming election, the leaders had asked the president to put on paper the key positions he will give the Yorubas if he finally wins the election.
However, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said yesterday that although Jonathan met with the leaders on various occasions, he said that the issue of signing an undertaking did not come up during those meetings over 50 monarchs in the South-West zone. Abati further said that signing an undertaking was not important since Jonathan was already addressing the alleged marginalization of the South-West.
Abati who made it known that the issue of marginalization came up only during one of the press interviews granted by the President. Responding to the question, the presidential spokesperson said that the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was zoned to the South-West when the government was being composed. He said Jonathan noted that it was also a son of the zone, Bola Tinubu, who sabotaged that arrangement.
Abati further said that despite all these, the Jonathan administration has not relented in making seeds from the zone a part of its administration. In his words,
“What I recall is that the President was well received during the consultations in the South West and there was no occasion during his interaction with the over 50 obas that he was asked to sign any undertaking. “He also met with well known elders of Yoruba land. He met also with labour leaders. I don’t remember President Jonathan being told to sign any undertaking.
“Senator Ogunlewe may be echoing the concern that has been in the air that the South West is not being adequately represented in the Federal Government. “If that issue came up at all in the course of our visit to the South West, it was during one press interview that a journalist asked about the issue.
“The President drew attention to what Senator Ogunlewe himself mentioned that when the present government was being composed, the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was zoned to the South West but it was a Yoruba son, Bola Tinubu, working on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria who blocked and sabotaged that arrangement.
“He also made it clear that this is something that he has addressed. You will see that the President has been making efforts to address the issue.
“We have Yorubas occupying sensitive positions in the cabinet. A Yoruba son is the Minister of Agriculture. A Yoruba daughter is the Minister of State for the FCT. The Ministry of Communication Technology is being headed by a Yoruba daughter. Under Jonathan, a Yoruba woman has also served as Minister of State Defence. Two Yoruba sons have since been Ministers of Police Affairs under Jonathan.
“We have also had a Yoruba son occupying the position of Minister of State, Defence. He has also appointed Yoruba persons as his Chief of Staff and as his official spokesperson. You will see that the President has been trying to address this issue.
“What the President has said was that when he comes back for his second term, he will make sure that issues like this about one part of the country being marginalised will not occur.“As for anybody telling him to come and sign any paper, that is not true. That has not happened but definitely, Yoruba people want more. President Jonathan is committed to equity, justice and carrying everyone along. As he always say, Nigeria belongs to all of us,” he added.
It would be recalled that just recently, Jonathan visited: monarchs in the Ogun-Central Senatorial District which are of Egba extraction, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi II and the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Ajagungbade in Oyo State.