Yoruba elders under the aegis of Yoruba Unity Forum have accused President Goodluck Jonathan of favouring other sections of the country to the detriment of the South-West geo-political zone in the appointment of top government officials.
The YUF said this at a press conference it addressed in Ibadan on Wednesday.
According to the elders, the marginalisation of the South-West zone in the distribution of political positions is an attempt to excise the zone out of the federation.
At the conference were Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, Senator Bode Olajumoke, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Tokunbo Ajasin, Chief Olu Falae, and Chief Biola Ogundokun, among others.
The elders alleged that the President’s pattern of appointments with no consideration for the Yoruba suggested that Jonathan did not appreciate the contribution the Yoruba people made to his emergence as the president in the 2011 general election.
Falae, who spoke for the group, said the Yoruba were sidetracked in the appointment and control of the apex political offices.
He listed the topmost positions in the country as that of the President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Federation, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, acting President, Court of Appeal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the National Security Adviser, and Head of Service of the Federation.
Falae said none of these offices was being occupied by a Yoruba person, submitting that the absence of Yoruba in the power hierarchy had adversely affected the zone.
The elders also made reference to the sacking of eight general managers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, six of whom were Yoruba, by the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, in October 2012.
The forum stated, “All attempts to meet the President and discuss the issue at a roundtable were fruitless as he made several unfulfilled promises to address the issue to date.
“In the days of the late President Umar Yar’Adua administration when he was incapacitated by illness and there was reluctance to make Jonathan acting President, it was predominantly Yoruba activists who led the march on the National Assembly to force our lawmakers to pronounce Jonathan acting President.
“When he chose to run for the presidency, he got the enthusiastic endorsement of many Yoruba progressives, especially the leadership of Yoruba Unity Forum.
“When Jonathan made a gaffe at a campaign rally in Ibadan, referring to some South-West governors as rascals, he sent a placatory delegation to Ikenne and the Yoruba leadership rose to his defence in a non-partisan manner.”
It called on the President to rise to the demands of his office and rule as the President of all Nigerians rather than President of the PDP or a particular ethnic group.
“We had tried very hard in the past two years. There are always positions to be filled. There are going to be vacant positions to be filled in the future and the South-West should be given consideration,” Falae said.