I’m still suffering for failing to stop Tambuwal from becoming Speaker in 2011 — Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed regrets at his inability to stop Aminu Tambuwal and install a South West politician as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2011.

He said he is still suffering for failing in that enterprise.

Speaking on Friday at the Yoruba Unity Summit themed: ‘National Development: Wither the Yoruba,’at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr. Jonathan attributed his failure to the selfishness of some Yoruba leaders.

In 2011, Aminu Tambuwal, who is from the Northwest, had defeated Mulikat Akande, a Yoruba from the South West, to emerge the House Speaker.

President Jonathan said he is still suffering from that decision by the Lower House.

“One of the problems I faced in the National Assembly is that I felt the right thing should be done because our party, the PDP, has a formula,” said Mr. Jonathan, who was the special guest of honour at the event.

“We have six geo-political zones in the country and when the President emerges from one of the geo-political zones, the Vice-President emerges from another geo-political zone, the rest core offices, the Senate President, the Speaker, Secretary to Federal Government, the chairman of the party must come from different geo-political zones.

“The idea is that, whenever we are distributing board positions and some of these appointments, whenever we are appointing ministers, all these people sit to take decisions. In that case we want all the geo-political zones to be in the inner caucus that take critical decisions.

“The last time, it was difficult for me because I insisted that the Southwest must get the Speaker. Of course, I couldn’t go through with it because some of us within the Southwest didn’t want it, based on some personal reasons. I am still suffering from that till today.”

President Jonathan said that this time around, the party would work collectively to ensure that the South West gets whatever is zoned to them.

“People should not rob it from us.”

Mr. Jonathan said that the South-West play a huge role in Nigeria’s economy, noting that Lagos and Ogun States alone control 55 percent of the economy.

He added that the contribution of the two states is a reason he is committed to providing them with infrastructure such as electricity to help boost the economy.

“With unity, we can go to the moon. The Yoruba will not be left behind,” he added.

The President also said that there are some recommendations from the just-concluded national conference he would not implement immediately to avoid desperate politicians who are “even ready to kill” from giving it a partisan colouration.

In his speech, Ayo Fayose, the Ekiti State governor, advised Mr. Jonathan to always ignore the criticisms of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, adding that the retired Army General will never support his re-election bid.

“You know it more than you know me. He will never want a man with an independent mind. Mr. President, you have refused to tread the path of unconstitutionality,” Mr. Fayose said.

“You have refused to level Borno and other states like he levelled Odi. You have taken your time to respect human lives by not committing crimes against humanity. He won’t like that.

“And, Your Excellency, the more you try to curry (favour of) Obasanjo, the more he will continue to despise you.

“If you continue to curry him, we are not going to curry him. He doesn’t like people that give him respect. I plead with Your Excellency. Your second term has been concluded in heaven. Fear not.”

The Ekiti governor challenged Mr. Obasanjo to explain the N50 million shared during the third term agenda, adding that he lacked the moral authority to speak against corruption.

“I earned less than N300, 000 as governor of Ekiti State during my first coming. Your Excellency, the donation of N10 million to Obasanjo Library, what do you call that? That is corruption,” Mr. Fayose said.

“Go and look for the Code of Conduct, the forms filled by President Obasanjo and his wealth today. We knew when he came back from prison. We knew the situation, we knew his wealth when he came out.

“If you don’t speak each time Obasanjo speaks in the papers, we must reply him. When people talk and we are addressing you here, that is not the issue. If he talks again, we will give him an answer.

“You are not supposed to reply him. You are a complete gentlemen. Decorum is part of business. We are telling you again, the moment he says the next one, we will engage him. This is not a country where after serving your own tenure, what you cannot take, you are giving it to others.”

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