‘We Are Not Mad People’: Odumakin Defends Criticism Of Buhari’s Administration

Yinka Odumakin says he would be happy if the Muhammadu Buhari Administration gets things right.

 

Spokesperson of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin, says his criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is born out of the need to ensure that the government does the right things and lead the nation on the part of development.

He said this during an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics during which he was questioned about the security situation in the country, the detention of the convener of the #RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore, among other things.

According to him, if the government does the right thing such as when it gave national honours to the Chief MKO Abiola, other heroes of Democracy and declared June 12 as the nation’s Democracy Day, then it would receive praise as it did then.

“When they do good things, we say it,” Odumakin said when asked whether he believes in the activities of the government.

“When this government decided to honour June 12, didn’t we commend it? We did. We are not mad people who will see (a) good thing and say it’s bad but we are also not sycophants who will see (a) bad thing and say it’s good.”

Odumakin is sceptical about the possibility that the Buhari administration would do more good things in its second term.

But he believes he has no other country than Nigeria and is keen to see things improve because “every day that we spend under bad conditions” helps no one and “every day that we spend under good conditions is a plus for all of us”.

Consequently, he added, “Even if you do not support the government, you will not say that the country should be destroyed. We will be happy if they (the government) get it right.”

According to him, getting it right involves “creating happiness all around”, ensuring economic growth, jobs and prosperity as well as security for Nigerians.

He, however, said the reality was that there were more wrongs than good, and faulted the approach to security challenges in the country including the decision to deploy soldiers to the highways in the South to tackle kidnapping and crime.

Citing the recent killing of some policemen by soldiers in Taraba State, he argued that there were more questions than answers.

He also faulted the detention of Sowore, insisting that the government were too hasty in clamping down on the protesters who he says were only expressing their unhappiness with the way things were in the country.

Odumakin said although the government had “promised to create three million jobs annually”, the reality is that the promised number of jobs is being lost annually.

Another issue the Afenifere spokesperson is unhappy about is the amount of time it has taken for the President to nominate ministers after his inauguration.

He said, “When they said they were waiting for the cabinet – five months after elections, two months after elections, we thought that ‘oh, maybe they are going to bring some experts from World Bank, some professors from Havard… We waited.”

In the end, he said the ministerial list was unimpressive.

No Group Should Be Shielded When It Commits A Crime, Says Odumakin

 

Spokesperson of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin, has called on the Federal Government to enforce law and order across the board and prosecute any group found guilty of committing a crime.

He was reacting on Channels TV Sunday Politics, to the recent killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti on Friday in Kajola near Ore, in Ondo State on her way from Akure.

“At this stage in Nigeria, we must enforce law and order across the board, we cannot continue to sheath any group from the law when it commits a crime.

“How long are we going to continue to use our blood to sustain the unity of this country?” he asked.

READ ALSO: Herdsmen Killings: The Responses To Security challenges Are So Weak – Moghalu

Mr Odumakin restated the position of the group that Mrs Olakunrin was murdered deliberately.

“It is unfortunate that we have reached a point where human lives are no longer safe in our country. As to what we said about Mrs Funke Olakunrin, we stand by it that she was murdered and all eyewitness account so far, indicate to us that she was murdered by herdsmen.

“When you inspect the car in which Funke Olakunrin was killed, you will see that most of the bullets came from her side of the car, which suggested some targeting.”

He alleged that the police is not doing enough to arrest those behind the killing of Mrs Olakunrin.

“Up till this moment, the way Police are very courteous in anything that involves herdsmen, it has been so in this case. The car in which she was killed, 48 hours ago, is in the compound of Pa Fasoranti.

“We expected that if the police were interested in any investigation, that car will be with them, they will be doing forensics and all.

“In her car, she had money, phones, jewellery and they were all intact, the only person that was abducted from the scene was the driver of her backup car, which as we speak, is still with the abductors,” he revealed.

It’s Worrisome Buhari Hasn’t Announced Cabinet, Says Odumakin

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.

 

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for the delay in constituting his cabinet describing the situation as worrisome.

During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday,  Odumakin decried the absence of a cabinet, 21 days after Buhari’s inauguration for a second term in office.

“I think that what is going on, 21 days (after the inauguration) and no announcement made yet, is worrisome.

“It is worrisome because when you look at South Africa when President Cyril Ramaphosa came into power recently, it didn’t take him a week to have his cabinet in place,” he said.

READ ALSO: You Cannot Remove Chief Judge, Kogi Court Tells Governor, Assembly

Odumakin, who is also Buhari’s former spokesman at the now-defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), also faulted the process the President used in retaining some appointees.

While noting that there are some portfolios don’t need National Assembly’s approval, he wondered why the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Chief of Staff to President, Abba Kyari and presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu among others have retained their positions without being reappointed.

“If the appointment that does not require going to the Senate is not being made and old people continue to function in a way that is not so legal, it gives (cause for some worry). Even the President himself did not rely on the oath he took in 2015, he had to take a new oath.”

Security: Odumakin Rates Buhari’s Administration 3/10, Says ‘We Are Losing The Country’

Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman for the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere.

 

Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman for the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has rated the President Muhammadu Buhari administration 3 over 10 in addressing the nation’s security challenges.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Odumakin decried the state of insecurity, stressing that the citizens may lose the country to bandits if efforts aren’t geared towards tackling the menace.

“I will rate them (the Buhari administration) three over 10 based on the state of insecurity, the whole country is ungovernable.

We must face the brick; we must have a country. We are losing the country at the moment,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Atiku, PDP Doing Everything To Sabotage Buhari, Overheat Polity – Lai Mohammed

Odumakin, a former spokesman to President Buhari, also noted that the fight against corruption hasn’t yielded the desired result.

While recalling the nation’s corruption index by the Transparency International (TI), Odumakin stated that Nigeria was ranked 136.

He, however, lamented that the nation is currently 144, thereby faulting the Federal Government’s claims on the graft war.

“On corruption, in 2014, we were 136 in TI rating. In 2018, we are 144, we have dropped points. So what corruption are we fighting?

“The President used to say that we must secure Nigeria and manage it. So we have to secure the country at the state we are now,” he said.

When asked if he is confident of the second term of the President that begins on May 29, Odumakin responded saying, “The last four years have been what they are, except there is an attempt to retool,” he said.

I Collected Amina Zakari’s CV From El-Rufai, Submitted To Presidency – Odumakin

A spokesman of the Afenifere group, Mr Yinka Odumakin, has said that he collected Amina Zakari’s CV from the Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai and submitted it to the Presidency.

Mr Odumakin disclosed this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Odumakin’s assertion comes on the heels of a controversy that has stemmed from Zakari’s appointment as chair of the INEC Collation Centre Committee.

“I was the one who collected her CV from El-Rufai and gave to (late) Oronto Douglas (former Special Adviser to Goodluck Jonathan on Strategy and Research),” Odumakin claimed.

He explained that El-Rufai told him of Zakari, who had worked under him when he was a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

He said, “I have read of accounts where it was stated that President Buhari nominated her. It was not the President. It was the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, who nominated her.

“When Jonathan came in 2010, his aide, the late Oronto Douglas, who was my brother and friend, approached the CSOs who were in the forefront of the fight to remove the cabal and he said his boss (Jonathan) had taken a decision to guarantee free and fair elections.

“He said he (Jonathan) does not want to know those who will be in INEC and therefore, he wants recommendations of credible Nigerians who could be in INEC. So, when Jonathan says he never knew Jega before his becoming INEC chairman, he was right.“So, they were headhunting for credible people and that is why you have people like Prof. Jega, Lai Olurode, and the rest of them coming as independent people nominated.

“But in the case of Amina Zakari, when that committee was working, we did not even know (anyone from) North-West and then Nasir El-Rufai also came to be part of the anti-Yar’adua movement and was part of the process and he said there was this woman that worked with him as health secretary when he was the FCT minister.

“He said she was very savvy and he spoke very well of her. He said she was abroad so it took about two or three days to get her CV which I collected from him and gave to Oronto Douglas. So, beyond seeing her name on paper, Jonathan did not know who she was.

The Afenifere spokesman insisted that Zakari is a relative of President Muhammadu Buhari, a claim which has been highly debated for some weeks now.

But Amina, has said that President Buhari is not my cousin or her uncle.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Is Not My Cousin, He Is Not My Uncle – Amina Zakari

Mr Odumakin, however, argued, that the honourable thing for Amina Zakari to do is to resign her position at INEC.

He also spoke about the role of observers in the forthcoming elections in Nigeria; he said that for transparency in the polls, observer groups must be granted access into the INEC situation room.

He said the electoral umpire cannot be speaking of a free and fair election if the observers are left out from the collation centre where a full overview of the elections can accurately be obtained.

The Afenifere spokesman said, “There is nothing to hide, observers should be able to observe every phase of the election, it is wrong that observers are brought in only on the Election Day”.

He said the role of observers is not to interfere in the affairs of INEC but to be able to make their comments regarding what they have seen play out in the course of the election.

Odumakin Insists Things Have Worsened, Faults Buhari’s Electoral Promises

 

A former spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Yinka Odumakin, has faulted the promises made by the President to improve the nation’s electoral process.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television programme, Politics Today, he insisted that rather than any development to take place, the situation has worsened.

“Rather than having reforms, we have had more deformities of the electoral process; vote buying has become a culture,” Odumakin told Channels Television on Tuesday.

President Buhari had assured Nigerians on different occasions that he remained committed to free and fair general elections in 2019.

The latest was the promise he made in his Christmas message in which he said, “My avowed commitment to free, fair, credible and violence-free polls is not a ruse or yet another vain political promise. My word is my bond.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls For Unity, Seeks Love For Displaced Nigerians At Christmas

 

I’m Prepared To Give The Opposition Opportunities I Was Not Given – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting at the State House in Abuja on December 15, 2018.

 

“With general elections around the corner and heightened political activities across the country, I have charged our security and law enforcement agencies to secure the sanctity of the ballot box and ensure that the outcome of the polls reflects the will of the Nigerian people.”

Odumakin, however, said he would not advise the people to take the words seriously but focus more on President Buhari’s actions.

He stressed that having contested for presidency thrice before his victory in 2015, he expected the President to be true to his electoral promises.

“We had thought that if he comes to power, things are going to improve,” President Buhari’s former spokesperson said.

“But in the last three and a half years, not one thing has been done to improve our electoral process. In fact, things have gotten worsened.”

 

Odumakin Insists Things Have Worsened, Faults Buhari’s Electoral Promises
Mr Yinka Odumakin

 

Odumakin said he expected his former principal to set up in motion a process that would lead to electoral reforms.

He, therefore, challenged the President to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, if he was really committed to fulfiling his promises.

A Democrat

A lawyer, Mr Daniel Bwala, swiftly countered the claims by Odumakin, saying President Buhari has remained a man of integrity.

He said, “Merry Christmas to Nigerians and in sharp disagreement with Mr Odumakin, I think that on the contrary President Buhari has shown to the world that he is more a democrat than all these other politicians put together.”

Bwala said the President proved this in his political party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – where he allowed due process and refused to interfere with the affairs of the party.

 

Mr Daniel Bwala

 

Another way he highlighted was a situation in which the President had to relinquish power to his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, whenever he travelled out of the country for a long time.

“President Buhari has even demonstrated in plenty places where there have been elections in the past, that he believes in the due process of law; he believes in the political process,” the lawyer insisted.

Bwala said while the President might have made one mistake or the other, he is better than his critics in so many ways.

Odumakin Backs Devolution Of Powers, Says ‘Centre Is Overweight’

Odumakin Backs Devolution Of Powers, Says ‘Centre Is Overweight’
Yinka Odumakin

 

A former delegate to the 2014 Confab, Yinka Odumakin, has supported the devolution of powers to states.

Speaking on the issue during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, he noted that the centre is overweight.

Odumaki also commended the speakers of the State Houses of Assembly for demanding the introduction of devolution of powers in the next round of constitution amendment by the National Assembly.

He said, “I think it is a good development that the state assemblies have voted for the devolution of powers.

“Nigeria is wobbling today because we have put so much weight in the centre. The centre is overweight, over-bloating, and it’s sitting on the rest of the federation.”

On the herdsmen-farmers crisis, the activist took a swipe at the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, for asking state governors to establish ranches before implementing anti-open grazing laws in their states.

He noted that the police boss is not in the position to tell the governors when to make laws, stressing the need for the creation of state police.

“So, it’s now the IG that will tell the state when to make laws?” Odumakin wondered. “That is part of the fact that you have an overbearing centre.”

“He (the IGP) knows that the governors are just titled by names, they are chief executives – but they have no authority, they have no cohesive power to enforce the will of the assembly,” he added.

The former confab delegate maintained that if the enforcement of the Sharia law can be very effective in some northern states, ‘democratically elected’ governors should have their own police to enforce their laws.

Despite join call for Nigeria’s restructuring, he, however, said the devolution of powers would only be a step forward but not the major factor.

He also spoke on the issue of true federalism and the Nigerian state. Odumakin noted that although local government autonomy is irrelevant, it should be at the bears of the federating unit.

New Election Sequence, Rare Good News From NASS – Odumakin

 

Former Presidential Candidate Spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin on Wednesday has expressed a positive reaction to the election sequence reordering by the National Assembly.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, had presented the report at the plenary on Wednesday.

Odumakin said the new election timetable is a positive development which will allow participatory democracy, describing it as ‘rare good news’ heard from the National Assembly.

“This is one of the very rare good news that has come out of the National. Assembly. It is a good development that will allow participatory democracy in our country,” he said.

Going back memory lane, Odumakin said the election sequence which was used in 1979 recorded success as it reveals the strength of each political party.

According to him, the new election sequence will allow each party express its strength and prevent bandwagon effect.

“If we go back into history, in 1979, the order of elections was the one that we started with National Assembly Elections and ended with the Presidential election.

“In that election, the NPN that formed government at the national level then won only seven out of 19 states. UPN won five states, and the other parties GNPP, PRP, NPP won the other states.

“You saw the strength of each party reflected.”

He explained further that the bandwagon effect is the reason why the political party in the position of the presidency have a landslide victory in the senatorial districts. Electorates according to Odumakin assume that once the President is from a political party, other vacant positions must be the same political party with the presidency.

“In 1983, the order of election was changed and once we had that, that is when we started having landslide (victory). That was when NPN started taking everywhere.

“Elections stopped reflecting the wish of the people. This is because the Presidency is the most powerful office in the land, therefore, once a party takes it, the rest is a bandwagon,’’ he said.

The political analyst said further that the new sequence is beneficial as it will allow each election stand on it own and won’t allow electorates vote for the party in presidency only.

“The reason to the best of my knowledge is to ensure that each election stands on its own. People are able to make their choices not based on the fact that a party has won the presidency, therefore, there is no point voting for the other political party.”

Senators earlier on Wednesday, February 14 disagreed over the 2019 elections sequence reordering. About 10 members of the Senate were reported to have walked out in protest against the adoption of the report by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on the Amendment to the Electoral Act.

A table showing the election sequence controversy depicting the contrast between the proposal by the National Assembly and INEC’s sequence.

 

South West Leaders Meet, Insist On Restructuring Of Nigeria

South West Leaders Meet, Insist On Restructuring Of Nigeria
A Yoruba leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo

The leaders of the Yoruba race in South West Nigeria have resolved to push harder for the restructuring of the country before the next general elections.

This, they intend to achieve by setting up a high powered committee to rouse the people to network with other people of like minds across the country.

The plan was one of the major resolutions of the meeting of the leaders of the group known as the Afenifere in Akure, Ondo State, country home of its National Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

The meeting which had the theme ‘Yoruba Rise For Restructuring’, was well attended by Yoruba leaders with the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, also in attendance.

At the end of the meeting which lasted for about four hours, the Publicity Secretary of the organization, Yinka Odumakin read the communique.

The leaders expressed worry by the mass killings going on in Southern Kaduna, Oke-Ogun, Oyo State, among the Igbos and all over Nigeria.

The meeting also cautioned that there is urgency to insist that the country must be restructured before going into another election as it cannot continue to slide dangerously the way along the path of anarchy and total disintegration.

Also, the leaders unanimously agreed to get all hands on deck for mobilisation towards the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.

The roll call of leaders present at the meeting are: former Secretary to Federal Government, Olu Falae; Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa; former Senators Adegbenga Kaka and Iyiola Omisore.

Others include Chief Bode George, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Pa Cornelius Adebayo and Chief Kole Omololu.

Two of the leaders who spoke to newsmen; Prof. Banji Akintoye and Chief Bode George, also emphasized empowerment, restructuring as well as the implementation of the 2014 national conference recommendations.

The meeting also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and equally commended the outgoing governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko for good governance in the state.

National Conference: Recommendations Can Restructure Nigeria’s System – Odumakin

Odunmakin YinkaA delegate at the on-going National Conference, Mr Yinka Odumakin, has expressed optimism that the recommendations of the delegates can restructure the nation to a large extent, moving it to a right direction.

The recommendations will only make the expected impact if the  nation will run with it, he said.

Mr Odumakin, who was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, said that the next meeting of the conference is to ensure that all the recommendations reached would reflect in the report.

“As at the time we adjourned, plenary had ended. What we go for on August  11 is to look at the report to ensure that all the T’s and I’s are dotted. No more the debate, at this point is to ensure that the reports reflects the deliberation.”

The one time spokesperson for former political party, Congress For Progressive Change, emphasised, however, that there would be debate on whether the reports reflected the deliberations. He said that the delegates would also look at the gray areas and correct them.

He said that the 2014 national conference had looked in-depth into the issues of Nigeria than other conferences in the history of the nation.

“After formal deliberations, we passed over 600 resolutions in this conference and we touched many issues that the 1988, 1994 and 2005 conferences did not touch, for instance the structure of this country.

“For the first time we are able to take local government off the exclusive list of the federal constitution to make it residual. We were also able to create state police as well,”Mr Odunmakin said.

He further, revealed that the delegates removed many items from the exclusive list of the Federal Government such as aviation, ports, federal highways within the states, mines, and the military clause to mention a few.

Mr Odumakin said that Presidential System of Government was not modified to ensure that the cost of governance was cut down.

Afraid Of Change

He, however, edxplained that the conference limited some items in the Presidential System of Government that they considered as wasteful

“We introduced things that are alien to the Presidential System of Government such as the President and ministers to go to the parliament and defend their account of  stewardship.”

In his opinion, the report should not be left in the hands of the National Assembly if any meaningful progress could be derived from it, suggesting that it should be put up for a referendum.

“If the report goes to the National Assembly, it is dead as the members are afraid of change and will not be willingly dispose to change,” he stressed.

According to him, the Independent National Electoral Commission are backed by the 2010 electoral act to conduct a referendum in pursuant of the 1999 constitution provisions or any other law or Act of the National Assembly.

“Perhaps, if there is a need of an Act of National Assembly, when a referendum is to be conducted, the President can ask them to pass an Act for the referendum and it goes to the people of Nigeria who will decide that this is what they want.

“The old National Assembly will have to promulgate a new constitution based on the people’s desire.”

He revealed that the conference altered the revenue allocation formula, saying that more money should go to the states.

“As against the present 52% controlled by the Federal government (FG), we are saying that the FG should take 42% and more resources should go to the states.

“The fiscal module of the country is not sustainable as oil is the main stay of the economy. If Nigeria stops selling oil, Lagos will be the only state in the country that will be able to pay the salary of its staff.

“Looking at the 2012 figures of IGI in all the states, Lagos State generated 219 billion Naira with a wage bill of 75 billion Naira which means it can pay its salary 50 times over unlike other states that will not be able to pay the salaries of the workers if there is no oil,” he explained.

He said the rationale behind creating new states was the quest for self-determination and more importantly, the fact that every state in the geo-political zone in Nigeria has abundant deposit of natural resources, hence the rationale behind the states creation.

He also revealed that the conference decided to put five per cent of the nation’s budget over a period, to explore the resources in every state, a fund that would enable most states explore the natural resources in the state.

Mr Odunmakin was optimistic that all the recommendations in the conference would not be pushed aside by politicians who are not favoured by the resolutions, as the people of Nigeria would have the final say through referendum.

On issues around politics, Mr Odunmakin was of the view that Nigeria needed a third party, which would not necessarily be a political party, but comprising of patriots and statesmen that would look beyond all the discrepancies in the polity.

“The party I am talking about is a party of patriots that are not necessarily interested in political office but are focused on righting the wrongs of the polity.”

On the derivation principle and why the conference decided to forward the issue to the presidency, Mr Odunmakin said there were controversies in the conference on the derivation issues, as some delegates wanted the five per cent intervention fund for insurgency in the north alone. The development led to the decision of the conference to forward the issue to the President to decide what the derivation will be.

He further suggested that the country should move to resource control until states can start generating revenue for themselves.

On whether the resources in the offshore belongs to the Federal Government, he insisted that the FG owns no resources and the that resources belong to the federating units as Nigeria was a Federal State.

“That is why there are talks of derivation and resource control.”

On the fear that the removal of immunity will open the president and governors to all sorts of litigations, Mr Odunmakin is of the view that those elected to political offices were called to serve and should not contest for political offices if they could not stand the heat.

He insisted that the removal of immunity would put a stop to impunity and enhance the enforcement of the corruption law.

Mr Odumakin was optimistic that the recommendations from the conference would go for a referendum despite fears in some quarters that there was no law backing it.

National Conference: The Era Of Threatening Anybody Is Over – Odumakin

Sunrise OdumakinSpokesman of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has berated his fellow National Conference delegate and the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, for threatening a walk out from the conference.

Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ about what transpired on the floor of the conference during the session, he revealed that the opening remark in the Lamido’s statement was “Let me warn all of you, the way we copy western civilisation…”

Odumakin said, “Initially I thought it was Shekau, because that’s the language of Boko Haram” as he referred to the speech about having an alternative country as the most unfortunate part of the conference, considering the high ranking of the Lamido of Adamawa as the 5th Emir in Northern Nigeria.

He wondered why a traditional leader of his rank would come to the National Conference in the midst of all the deep divisions and other issues going on in the country to make such statements like “My kingdom extends to Cameroon, there’s a state there called Adamawa, so if this place disintegrates, we have other places to go, it is you guys that don’t have.”

Odumakin further said, “I’m from Yoruba land, there are Yorubas in Benin Republic, in Togo, in Ivory Coast and in Brazil; but if I want to go and meet them, it will not be after destroying Nigeria.

“That statement (by the Lamido) is loaded and from the murmuring and comments we were hearing, some people were saying ‘O yes’.

“We now understand why insurgents are coming from Cameroon, Chad and Niger to destroy Nigeria, to kill children and the elites of the country are keeping quiet”, he said, revealing that the Lamido continued making the same comments to the press after the session until he was stopped by other Northern delegates.

He, however, said that he held discussions with many other northern delegates who said that “they felt diminished, they were embarrassed” that an important Emir from the North would get up and make that kind of statement at the conference.

He also alleged that the Lamido’s comments may have been premeditated as the Northern Elders’ Forum had held a meeting in Kano to condemn the conference before it commenced, and issued a communique that the outcome would not be binding on the North and during which they also said that the northern delegates should walk out if deliberations failed to go according to their expectations.

“It is clear that there is a mindset, but I think the most important thing at this stage is that we need to tell ourselves the whole truth; the era of intimidating or threatening anybody is over”, Odumakin said.

On the possibility of categorising the Lamido’s comments to be against with the President’s directive that the divisibility of Nigeria should not be discussed at the conference, Odumakin said that as far as he was concerned, the President did not give a “no-go area” during his inaugural speech.

Odumakin also berated the Sultan of Sokoto and retired Justice Uwais who protested to the President that the National Conference reflects a marginalisation of Muslims, when the President only nominated 72 delegates and other Nigerians and professional bodies were responsible for the other delegates chosen based on what they can contribute to the conference.

Proffering solution to the problems of the country which he said were fundamental, Odumakin maintained his usual view that the “golden moments of governance in Nigeria still remains the first republic” when regional governance was empowered.

Odumakin also shared his view on the voting controversy at the conference.

He said that there is nowhere in the world where 75% makes up the majority, rather the threshold for a majority is two-thirds. He noted that the two-thirds threshold implies that the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say, but the 75% is saying that the minority will have their way while the majority just have their say.

On the issue of subjecting resolutions to the National Assembly, Odumakin asked “Why should anybody go and waste three months of his life when you’re just an adviser?” He insisted, there was no way that the conference will not have a life of its own.

Argument On Voting Pattern Is An Attempt To Rig National Confab – Odekunle

Femi OdekunleA Public Affairs Analyst, Professor Femi Odekunle, on Thursday said that the disagreement between delegates at the National Conference on the voting pattern to adopt is born of an agenda to rig the outcome of the meeting.

“As far as I’m concerned, the argument about the voting pattern is an attempt to rig the outcome later or either to make certain things possible or certain thing impossible and that arises from the matter of composition that was being raised”

He made his view known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, insisting that primordial sentiments, and not the desire for a New Nigeria, had become the basis for the delegate’s actions.

According to him, “majority of the delegates are those who have actually ruined this society by their antecedents” and “a snake is a snake, anyday and the son of a snake is also a snake.”

He supported arguments that the age bracket of majority of the delegates was inappropriate considering the fact that the purpose of the Conference was to set an agenda for the nation’s future.

“Considering the population of this country and that we are looking for the future, the modal age of those in that conference should be between 35 and 45, not the past because we are looking for our future. Not those who have brought us to our sorry state.”

On the Conference’s consideration of seeking memoranda from the public, Odekunle said “I really don’t think this is the way to go”, maintaining that, “we have enough documents in this country as to the problems we are facing and why we are facing them.”

He further said that the documents may be obtained from social scientists and activists present at the Conference or from those used for Vision 2020 and information obtained by the Okurounmu Committee. He concluded that the new memoranda-seeking exercise would be a waste of time.

While berating the overall composition of the Conference, Odekunle expressed confidence in certain individuals, Akin Oyebode, Yinka Odumakin, Tunde Bakare, who he believed would stir the agenda in the right course.

He, however, advocated that a good number of the traditional rulers and former governors, senators should be withdrawn from the Conference and fresh minds from the younger generation be injected to ensure success.

Odekunle also advocated that a Truth and Restitution Commission be established as part of the outcomes of the Conference. The Commission, he explained, would comprise Nigerians of integrity who would “ensure that they give six months’ notice to all Nigerians (particularly from the Babangida era), who have looted our country, to come and return the amount of money they have stolen and then they can be forgiven.”

He added that “if they return the loot within a period of six months then you may forgive but if not, you send them to jail, if not death penalty”.

“Those are the kinds of things I’m expecting from this Conference,” he said.