By KUNLE OLASANMI, Abuja –
Legal luminary, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, (SAN) has carpeted former Special Adviser on national assembly matters, Tanko Yakassai over the latter negative remarks on the resolutions of Yoruba leaders summit on restructuring of the country.
At the summit held last Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, the south-west leaders demanded for a return to regional government as practiced in the first republic which they noted guaranteed self-autonomy for the federating regions.
In attendance at the event were eminent leaders of south-south and south-east geo-political zones. The governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose was present while governors of Oyo, Osun, Lagos and Ogun states were represented by their commissioners.
But Yakassai in a report published by a national daily, dismissed the gathering as assembly of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere sympathizers while he further claimed that the communiqué read at the summit was prepared handy before the event.
He said, “Nigerian constitution guarantees every citizen the right to own opinion and express such opinion without let or hindrance as long as it is done within the confine of the laws of the country.
“Those who attended the meeting itself had no prior knowledge of the agenda or resolution adopted at the meeting before hand. In fact, even the communique read was drafted and brought to the meeting ready made. Nobody proposed setting up the communique committee or nominated any member of the communique committee. All were brought ready made ton the meeting. It was a manipulated meeting to do the bidding of the clique that convened it.
“As far as I am concerned, both the meeting and the adopted documents though lawful are illegitimate.’’
Chief Akintola who moved the motion for the adoption of resolutions at the meeting however faulted the claim of Yakassai.
In a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen, the Oyo state governorship hopeful declared genuine leaders of people of southern Nigerian were committed to restructuring of the country, which he further noted could not be undermined by anybody.
“As Yoruba, I was brought up and trained to show respect to elders and listen to their words of wisdom. So I will refrain from trading insults with the elder statesman (Tanko) Yakasai. I was present at the Yoruba Summit of last Thursday. In fact
I moved the motion for the adoptions of our resolutions, declaration and communique. All the Governors were present or represented. In fact, the presentations of Governor Aregbesola of Osun state which were in writing and that of Governor Fayose of Ekiti were far more radical than what we finally arrived at.
“The younger elements and the more radical Yoruba Liberation movement actually wanted outright Oduduwa Republic and called for collaboration between the Yoruba and their Niger Delta counterparts. But in line with the traditions of the Yoruba, we the moderates and the elder were able to rein in the militant youths to see the wisdom in the position of the elders, the Professional groups, the Clergy , the Academia, the traditional institutions led by the Ooni and Alaafin ably represented by the Basorun of Oyo the traditional Prime Minister.
The Yoruba council of Elders, Afenifere, The Afenifere Renewal Group to which I belong, the Vice-President was represented by the Political Adviser to the President, Femi Ojudu, people of diverse political divides who ordinarily would not sit together.