The Presidency has said the view expressed by a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on the proposed national conference is not that of the Yoruba.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, stated this at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.
Okupe said that Tinubu’s initial reaction on arrival from his overseas medical trip on October 5 was not well-thought-out.
The former governor, who is also the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, had described the national dialogue as “a Greek gift and an act of public deception” which was ill-timed because of its closeness to the forthcoming 2015 elections.
But Okupe said the comment of the former governor was roundly opposed , rejected and condemned by a clear majority of Nigerian people, especially the “authentic Yoruba leadership” in the South-West.
He, however, did not mention the authentic Yoruba leaders in the South-West.
The Presidential aide said, “It is therefore clear and unarguable that whatever position the APC Leader holds on the issue of the national conference does not represent the views of the majority of Yoruba people in the South-West.”
He argued that Tinubu’s assertion that there was an ulterior motive for the conference was surely conjectural and speculative, adding that such a position had no foundations in any reasoning or logic.
Okupe said it wrong for Tinubu to cite the non-implementation of the Justice Muhammed Uwais committee recommendations on electoral reforms as a basis for his action.
He said the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, where the ruling Peoples Democratic Party lost to the opposition, was hailed by the majority of Nigerians, including Tinubu.
“One therefore wonders the mischief that Tinubu intended to play by the alleged non-implementation of reports of the Justice Uwais committee on electoral reforms,” Okupe added.
On whether the President would be bold enough to implement the outcome of the conference, Okupe said this was the first time a Federal Government took a bold initiative to call for a national conference without “no-go-areas.”
In order to realise this, he said the President had given the advisory committee headed by Senator Femi Okurounmu the power to determine its nature and or structure.
Okupe also dismissed the claim by Tinubu that the President was organising the conference at a time the PDP was embroiled in internal crises.
He said, “The APC leader, as usual, is completely off target. Desperate politicians and self-seeking political leaders tend to believe that their quest for power or insatiable appetite for wealth accumulation through politics is superior to the genuine desires and innate aspiration of the ordinary Nigerians.
“While the Tinubus of this world focus only on the 2015 general elections, most patriotic ordinary Nigerians are more concerned with the emergence of a united country based on equity and justice .”
Okupe said that Tinubu wanted the Yoruba nation and indeed the people of Lagos State to believe that he was sincere in rendering public service.
He called on Nigerians to ignore “the vituperation of the so-called leaders who don’t see anything good in anyone or any programme except they are either in control or that it is tailored to satisfy their inordinate desires and greed.
But Tinubu said in a statement on Monday that his stance on the national conference could not be changed by the Presidency’s “shadow boxing and presidential foul language.”
He described the Presidency as “flip-flopping,” adding that it had failed to address the salient issues he raised about the proposed conference.
In the statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Sunday Dare, Tinubu said rather than deal with his questions, the Presidency only succeeded in reeling out fictional achievements.
The statement reads in part, “As usual, rather than deal with the salient and substantial issues surrounding the proposed national conference raised, the reaction from the Presidency skirted around them.
“In typical fashion, it resorted to abusive language and name calling. Okupe, like a punch drunk pugilist, threw several empty jabs and went on a flight of fancy praising his boss and flaunting fictional achievements of the administration in the face of Nigerians.”
Tinubu, who challenged the Presidency to provide answers to his “searching questions”, added that Nigerians, who would “not be able to relate to all the fictional transformational achievements reeled out by the Presidency”, would be the ones to judge.
He said, We urge Jonathan and his cry babies to take time to read through the statement and address the cloud of doubts surrounding the proposed conference.
“This is a flip-flopping Presidency that needs to provide answers to the questions raised. It must know that no amount of shadow boxing and Presidential foul language can change that.
“While we would not mind such a person to be a leading figure in our Nollywood film industry, I am frightened that he is the Chief Resident of Aso Villa and surrounded by a cast of like minds.”