In the context of the elections, much has been said about Nigeria’s “unity in diversity”. Still, many Nigerians feel they are being deliberately disjointed on the grounds of their ethnicity. Dr Ibraheem Dooba, in his exclusive contribution for KTS’s blog, explains why the Yoruba people are frustrated with the incumbent president and one of the presidential candidates Goodluck Jonathan, and why they are most likely not going to support him come Saturday, March 28.
“President Jonathan won’t implement recommendations of the conference if he wins. Even if he does, it won’t be what the Yoruba people want.”
“Other than the constitutionally-required appointments, Yorubas are invisible in Jonathan’s government.”
“The Yoruba people don’t deserve this neglect.”
Why did the Yoruba become victims in and of Jonathan’s government? What are the reasons why the ethnic group isn’t supporting and wouldn’t vote him?
1. The laughable National Conference report
First, President Jonathan tried to outsmart the Yoruba by offering them the National Conference. But how can he outsmart the Yoruba, a people so intelligent that Jonathan would have his brains in knots should he try any of their mental feats!
It’s now clear that President Jonathan, although he’s promised to do so, won’t implement the recommendations of the conference if he wins re-election. Even if he does implement them, it won’t be what the Yoruba people want.
“Is Jonathan going to remove immunity clause as recommended by the conference? No,” Dr Haruna Yerima, an academic and one of the four hundred delegates to the National Conference, said in an interview with Daily Trust, before asking, “What is there in the report that he is using now to cajole the southwest people into voting for him?”
The former member of the House of Representatives said the report paid scant attention to corruption and inequality issues in the country.
“The report didn’t give the southwest people their age-long desire of true federalism. In fact, nobody talked about it at the conference. It also didn’t give them the parliamentary system as well as the regional system of government they requested for during the conference. So, what is there for them?” he queried.
He said the Southwest wouldn’t trust Jonathan after “six years without doing anything for them. He is just desperate. He needs their votes to short-change them again.”
But the Southwest is too smart to be short-changed that way. Even Mama Sikira, the famous akara seller, wouldn’t be fooled by this.
2. Targeted Yoruba sackings
Chief Kola Aderemi wrote in The Nation of December 23 last year that President Jonathan must have something against the Yoruba to allow for such sustained ill-treatment.
“Nothing illustrates President Jonathan’s hatred for Yoruba better than the way he removed some Yoruba people from key positions on allegation of being too close to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo,” he said. “To buttress my point, I recalled how he removed Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the PDP secretary. Mr Yomi Bolarinwa was removed as DG of Nigeria Broadcasting Commission; Otunba Segun Runsewe was removed as DG of Nigerian Tourism Development Commission, and they were replaced with Igbo people.”
Here is a selection of other Yoruba people that Jonathan sacked that chief forgot to mention: Olu Oluleye, executive secretary, the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF). Dr Samuel Oduselu, CEO of the Accident Investigation Bureau.
Stella Oduah sacked eight general managers at the FAAN in 2014, six of them Yoruba. The same minister employed 75 workers, 40 of them are from the Southeast, her geo-political zone.
The minister sacked Captain Adebayo Araba, rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, and replaced him with Captain Chinyere Kalu from the Southeast. Also Mrs Ola Onagoruwa, Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, was sacked for “undisclosed reasons”.
The issue of the Yorubas being deliberately replaced by the Igbo people is debatable, but it is a fact that, immediately after Yar’Adua died, Jonathan went on Yoruba sacking spree. The result? Other than the constitutionally-required appointments, Yorubas are invisible in his government.
The Yoruba people moved from the number one position (in President Obasanjo “era”) to number 22. I’m not exactly sure how this reckoning was done, but the victims must have taken their time to do the counting.
3. President Jonathan betrayed their votes
The Yoruba people don’t deserve this neglect. Many of them voted for him in 2011, but he’s got this weird conviction that those who voted him in the Southwest and the North are the Igbo residents of those areas.
I sometimes do my morning jog with a Yoruba woman, a Muslim, who told me that she voted Jonathan in 2011 because she thought that was justice because Niger Delta produces a chunk of the government income. However, she wouldn’t repeat that mistake again in 2015. Not because Jonathan dislikes the Yoruba people, but because the guy is useless to everybody, including the long-suffering people of the Niger Delta.
My own friend for many years, also a Yoruba Muslim (from the North), gave me the same reason for supporting Jonathan in 2011. This “sense of justice” reason makes me believe that must be something embedded in their culture.
During our time in the diaspora, I had many Nigerian friends. The most religious of us and one of my closest neighbours is a Yoruba Muslim. His old father in Nigeria was also religious and in 2011, he was preparing to vote for Goodluck Jonathan. My friend’s father, may God rest his soul, died this year. His children, however, are still alive and would not accept Jonathan in 2015 even if you dressed him in gold.
Make of that what you will, but the northern Yoruba and their southern brethren Muslim and Christians supported the president four years ago.
It’s the reason why the Yoruba people shouldn’t let this betrayal go unpunished. The fortunate thing for Nigerians, and, particularly, the APC, is that many of them have long resolved to do this. That sense of justice will be used to shoot down Jonathan this month.
Dear Yoruba brethren, you are an intelligent set of people. Do us all a favour, I call upon you in supplication: don’t vote Jonathan.
As of this moment, the only Yoruba group which supports Jonathan is Afenifere. However, even Afenifere is divided. Afenifere Renewal Organization (ARG) said they didn’t support the endorsement of Jonathan enacted by Yinka Odumankin’s group. So the authentic Afenifere doesn’t support the president.
The US-based Oodua organization also distanced itself from the self-serving endorsement of Odumankin’s group.
Moshood Erubami, civil rights activist, summed it up: “No real Yoruba man or woman who supports a pan-Yoruba political and developmental agenda will vote for Jonathan in the coming election, because the Southwest has not gained anything from his administration.”
So let’s have a bloc vote from this savvy and enterprising race. Jonathan shouldn’t continue, the Yoruba ought not allow him!
Dr Ibraheem Dooba
Dr Dooba is a data scientist, a teacher and a columnist.