Rising from a strategic meeting with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) in Lagos, leaders of Yoruba youths under the aegis of Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (YCYCW) has reeled out conditions that would make the group throw its bloc support behind President Muhammadu Buhari — candidate of the All Progressives Congress — in next year’s presidential election.
The youth organization who has been at the vanguard of promoting the interest of young people of Yoruba race and by extension across Nigeria told the Vice President at the meeting of its readiness to mobilize the support of Southwest youths at home and in the diaspora to back the Buhari/Osinbajo joint ticket if its litany of requests are granted.
The New Diplomat gathered at the meeting that part of the detailed conditions contained in a document handed over to Prof. Osinbajo by the President of the group, Aremo (Barr.) Dotun Hassan, included the implementation of the UN’s educational right law which allocate 26% of the national budget to education sector; inauguration of the National Restructuring Affairs Commission which will look deep into the restructuring debate in the shortest space of time; and that between now and January all ministerial positions previously held by Yoruba be returned to Southwest.
Recall Governor Kayode Fayemi resigned his position as the minister of Mines and Solid Minerals to contest in the Ekiti gubernatorial election. Similarly, although, in controversial fashion, Mrs Kemi Adeosun was forced to resign from Buhari’s cabinet as Finance Minister following her NYSC certificate saga. After her resignation she was replaced by Mrs Zainab Ahmed from Kaduna State.
Also, the group called on the Buhari-administration to cede to Southwest, the Attorney General of the federation, Minister of Agriculture, Petroleum; Minister of Youth and Sport Development. “We also demanded that the Service Chiefs must include a Yoruba man and that the ministerial and ambassadorial positions be given to youths from Southwest.” Hassan added.
According to him, “YCYW will only give full endorsement to any of the candidates and parties who is ready to sign an agreement, assuring that the conditions for endorsement will be met if elected. so it’s not going to be a blanket endorsement.
“Our endorsement will be subject of ratification of those demands and conditions as listed. They must return those positions they have taken from us before canvassing for Southwest votes.”
On behalf of the group, Hassan lauded the Vice President for the good gestures he has demonstrated from the onset of the administration. “He has become the face of the incumbent administration.”
On his own part, Prof. Osinbajo thanked the group for its contributions to national growth and development, urging its leaders to back Buhari/Osinbajo joint ticket. “I want to tell you that our re-election would bring lasting legacy and development to the region and Nigeria at large.
“It’s an opportunity for Southwest to have one of its own, and I implore you not to throw away this opportunity. Because it doesn’t come at all times. Any mistake could cost us dearly in the future,” he stated at the meeting.
While promising to go through the document and the conditions for endorsement stated therein, the Vice President said the N-POWER scheme was one of the many programmes conceptualized by the administration to better the lot of Nigerians youths.
Speaking on the forthcoming Southwest Summit to be beld at a yet-to-be-fixed date in January, Hassan said the summit will have in attendance, all Yoruba traditional rulers, elders, stakeholders, ministry and parastatal heads; representatives from the judiciary and Assembly members. “We want to discuss the interest of Southwest beyond the politicians’ interests.
“Femi Falana will be the lead discussant, while Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be the key note speaker. Other issues about southwest will be discussed.” He said.
Meanwhile, as political horse trading intensifies, Southwest as in previous elections is gradually emerging as the hotbed of 2019 election gambit as Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, had severally reiterated its resolve to support the candidacy of former Vice President and People Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.