President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to take urgent steps to address alleged marginalization of the South-west geo-political zone under his administration to save his political career, especially, post 2019.
In an interview with Saturday Sun in Lagos, a notable Yoruba leader and founder, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, described alleged marginalization of the Yoruba in Buhari’s government as real. He called on the president to do the needful, warning that the people from the geo-political zone may use their votes to punish the president and APC in 2019 general elections, unless there is a redress.
Fasehun also speaks on other national issues.
Can you elaborate on the useful lessons you claim Yoruba have learnt in their marginalization by the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari?
What I meant is that our people must have learnt a bitter lesson from the way they are being treated by the present leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari.
You know as the saying goes, words of elders are words of wisdom. Not only that God used some elders including myself in the run-up to the 2015 general elections, that we should not only raise alarm, but also warn Yoruba about going into any romance or alliance with General Buhari.
When we were raising that alarm, it is not that we have personal hatred or harboured any grudge against Buhari, but our opposition against Buhari was hinged on the fact that this man was in power before and we all knew how he marginalized other sections of the country, promoting only the northern interests.
People complained that time against his style, but Buhari refused to budge, under Buhari’s military leadership then, Nigeria was almost turned into Animal Farm where some animals were equal than others.
As the saying goes, a leopard can’t change its spots, and that was why we warned Nigerians that time, especially the Yoruba, that helping Buhari to get political power would amount to nothing but political suicide. Voting for Buhari or helping Buhari to get political power is like riding on the back of a tiger, and if you are not careful, you end up in the belly of that tiger. This is exactly what is happening today, Buhari has not changed a bit. He has only changed his military garb for civilian attires, but the man still remains the same, stubborn and a biased leader.
Forget whatever his supporters and media handlers are saying, Buhari is pro-North 100 per cent, and he doesn’t care about the feelings of other sections of the country, especially the South. Buhari is not a national leader, it would be wrong for anybody or any genuine patriot to describe Buhari as a national leader.
However, it is not only the Yoruba that Buhari has marginalised, he has marginalized the entire South. Buhari is Nigeria’s president, but from his actions, he doesn’t behave or act like a leader who sees the entire nation as his constituency.
In what ways do you think Yoruba ethnic group has been marginalized by theFederal Government?
You don’t need to look far before you can see the difference. Look at all the key appointments the president has been making since coming to power, the north is favoured more than the south. It is only inconsequential positions that are being handed Yoruba and other ethnic nationalities. Key appointments and influential positions are given to the north, and it is very unfortunate that some people would always found justification for the president’s action, but Nigerians can’t be fooled.
But some people will say that what do the Yoruba want again under this administration more so that the vice-president, the number 2 man in the administration is a Yoruba man …
Cuts in … Yes it is true that a Yoruba man is the number 2 man, but that is where it all ends. The vice-president is just like deputy governors who have been described by some people as spare tyres. Either you are the vice-president or the deputy-governor, you have nothing to celebrate about, because it is the president and the governors that wield all the power. The deputies are at the mercy of their bosses. The constitution allows little or no specific roles to the vice-president and the deputy governors. They are just glorified public office holders. They are toothless bulldogs. They depend or look up to the crumbs from the president or governors. The vice-president only carry out duties assigned him by the president.
But the Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere has been crying out also protesting the so-called marginalization …
Cuts in … Forget Afenifere, Afenifere is dead. It has become moribund. Afenifere needs to be rebranded.
Afenifere has been destroyed by politics. Afenifere has lost its vibrancy – it is not the Afenifere that we used to know that we have today.
I’m not looking for any position, but I believe that Afenifere needs to be rebranded. The group must be helped to regain its lost vibrancy.
Afenifere is no longer credible like it used to be. I believe this socio-cultural organization must find its voice again. Like I said earlier, what is of paramount interest to me is the unity and development of Yorubaland.
Gone were the days when Afenifere would only bark and those in authority would shiver – they would become jittery, this was even during military rule. But now in a democratic dispensation, Afenifere has been politicized to the extent that it has become weakened, that its voice no longer carries any weight.
We need to rediscover ourselves. The Yoruba need a platform that will serve as a rallying point for all Yoruba irrespective of political affiliation. We need a platform that all Yoruba will obey its voice without dissent. This is one of the reasons Afenifere needs to be rebranded. Most of the elders in Yorubaland are worried that people of the ethnic nationality were being treated as second class citizens. Not only that we are also deeply worried that a Third Force is now using some Yoruba elements to cause further division among our people in order to achieve certain political objective. But we will not allow that to happen, and I use this forum to warn those Yoruba elements that some outsiders are using to sow seeds of discord among our people that history will not be kind to them. They should retrace their steps now, otherwise they would be regarded as traitors – they would be regarded as sell-outs who betrayed their own people for a meal of porridge.
To promote peace, unity and development of Yorubaland, we are organizing a conference tagged Yoruba Nationality Conference. It is going to be a pan-Yoruba conference, meaning that participants will not only be Yoruba dwelling within the south-west geo-political zone, but all Yoruba including those in Benin Republic, Kwara, Kogi, Edo and Delta including those in Diaspora are going to be at that conference, where issues relating to the progress and welfare of the Yoruba race will be extensively discussed. I’m the arrowhead of the conference, and that gathering will come up next week.
On this conference that you are putting together, some people are already insinuating that it might be at the instance of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC who some people, especially some Yoruba elders felt is being marginalised within the APC fold …
Cuts in … What is that supposed to mean? That Tinubu is sponsoring me to organize the conference, or that the conference is being put together to promote Tinubu’s interests, insult. What an insult. What’s my business with Tinubu? We are not on the same page politically. Tinubu can never sponsor me. At my age; I’m now over 80 years, nobody can buy me. Nobody can gag me, I will say nothing but the truth and damn the consequence. I will satisfy my conscience and not anybody’s interests.
Of course, some of us felt bad about the way Tinubu is being treated within APC. But if Tinubu had listened to us that time, when we cautioned him against leading the people of the south-west to form alliance with Buhari, what is happening to him today would have been averted.
But then what has happened, Tinubu is still one of us, an eminent Yoruba son, we can only reprimand him, we can’t abandon him to the wolves. Tinubu like every other mortal is not perfect, he may have his faults, but morally it is not good that he should be treated badly and even to the extent of being marginalized after helping APC to get political power.
Now what do you consider to be Yoruba’s right place considering the support and role they played in installing President Buhari and his administration?
As the saying goes, to whom much is given much is also expected. It is also where you worked and you get the expected result that you are also expected to get your reward.
The Yoruba worked, and laboured extensively to ensure that Buhari gets to power. I can even confidently say that it was the bloc vote from the south-west that gave victory to Buhari, otherwise former President Goodluck Jonathan would have defeated him.
What will be Yoruba’s reaction in the next general election, considering Buhari’s perceived betrayal of the South-west?
The answer is very simple. Buhari should forget South-west in 2019. People’s eyes are open now and not only in Yorubaland, even in the North people are tired of Buhari’s administration.
Apart from betrayal or no betrayal, what has Buhari done to deserve coming back? Almost two years into his administration, Nigerians have become more pauperized. There is pain and hunger in the land. Nigerians are really angry with this APC government.
Initially, when they were coming into office, were Nigerians not cheering Buhari and APC, but what is the situation today? Those Nigerians who were cheering Buhari and APC are now jeering at them. People are fed up. Even in the North, people are clamouring for change. When people shout APC in those days, others would respond Change, but today when you shout APC instead of people replying you with “Change”, they are replying “APC Shame.”
Buhari and other APC leaders should read the handwriting on the wall, and start doing the needful, because 2019 is almost here with us, and millions of Nigerians are eager to punish Buhari and APC with their votes.
Source: The Sun Newspaper