The Director of Operations, Committee on Yoruba Progress, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, tells FEMI MAKINDE in this interview that President Goodluck Jonathan was not attacked by OAU students
Why did Yoruba leaders organise summit to canvass support for the President despite the neglect of the South-West by his administration?
Firstly, the aim of the summit was to reposition the Yoruba race as the nation is preparing for the general election holding next year. The Yoruba people participated in the just concluded national conference and we want the implementation of the recommendations of the conference.
That is one of the reasons we invited the President to be our special guest of honour. We discussed issues there and it was in order to carry him along.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration did not neglect the South-West as some would want us to believe.
The administration has executed many projects in this region and he deserves to be commanded. They may not be enough but the Yoruba people believe you must show appreciation for a previous good thing done to you in order to attract new ones.
But the South-West has no representative among the top political offices in the land.
Yes. The President offered the speakership position to the South West but some Yoruba people because of their selfish interest blocked Yoruba candidates from the office and gave it away to another zone. So, it is wrong to say that President Jonathan denied us that position.
The President even said it during the meeting that he wanted the Speaker to come from the South West to ensure fairness and equity but his plan did not sail through.
Do you think President Jonathan stands any chance of winning in 2015 considering the influence of the APC in the region?
President Jonathan will win in the South-West in 2015. By the grace of God, he will win convincingly. But we have to work hard because politics is dynamic. We are working for him and we will work harder because we know the opposition would want to capitalise on the fact that some of their leaders come from here but the PDP will win the South-West.
The President won in the South-West in 2011 despite the fact that the Action Congress of Nigeria was said to be popular then, you will all see how the region will again vote for Mr. President to continue with his good work. He has done his best and he deserves the support of every Nigerian.
To be sincere with you, President Goodluck Jonathan has done well despite the daunting challenges of insecurity and steady fall in the price of oil. Some people are daily attacking and seeking to pull down the country the President and his team are labouring hard to build.
The APC parades experienced politicians jostling to pick the ticket and confront Jonathan in 2015. Don’t you think any of these aspirants can defeat Jonathan?
President Jonathan will win again. I am telling you this and we in the PDP will not relent. We will continue to work hard.
We want to challenge the APC aspirants to come up with the alternative they have rather than hurling abuses at President Jonathan all the time.
All over the world, followers support their leaders and that is one of those things that make those countries great. The President is not averse to criticisms but the criticisms must be constructive.
Many use the failure of the Federal Government to end the Boko Haram insurgency to tag the Jonathan administration as a failure. Is this not right?
Boko Haram was not created by the President. He inherited the problem but due to the reasons best known to those behind it, they have intensified their effort to destroy the country.
However, President Jonathan’s administration has recorded many landmark achievements despite the huge challenges before him. The President has done well in area of infrastructural development. The Lagos/ Ibadan Expressway, which was in a deplorable condition is fast becoming smooth now due to the determination of this administration. The president has carried out institutional reforms and you can see this in Independent National Electoral Commission, the unbundling of the then NEPA. Recently, a Liberian-American brought the dreaded Ebola virus to Nigeria and this administration rose to the challenge and contained it.
But the students of Obafemi Awolowo Univetsity reportedly stoned the President when he attended the Yoruba leaders summit held on the campus to express their anger over economic woes.
That is not true. The President was neither booed nor stoned contrary to the report in some quarters. The students of the OAU hailed the President after he came out of the summit. As a former SUG president in the same university, I knew that the students were happy with the President and they sought an opportunity to discuss with him. The SUG president debunked the rumour. The lie was spread by the opposition; they were behind the purported stoning of Mr. President.
Anybody who claimed that the President was stoned after the summit was either being mischievous or hallucinating.
How do you view the criticism of former President Olusegun Obasanjo against Jonathan and his administration?
Baba Obasanjo expressed his opinion. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. However, everybody knows that President Jonathan’s administration is facing a lot of difficulties but despite that, he has been performing very well.