Legal luminary, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, has carpeted former special adviser on National Assembly Matters to former President Shehu Shagari, Tanko Yakassai, over his 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 a return to regional government, as practised in the First Republic, which they noted guaranteed self-autonomy for the federating regions.
In attendance at the event were leaders of South South and South East geo-political zones.
Ekiti State Governor, 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 newspaper, dismissed the gathering as assembly of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere sympathisers and alleged that the communiqué read at the summit was prepared handy before the event.
He said: “Those who attended the meeting itself had no prior knowledge of the agenda or resolution adopted at the meeting before hand. In fact, the communiqué read was drafted and brought to the meeting ready made. Nobody proposed setting up the communiqué committee or nominated any member of the communiqué committee. All were brought ready made to 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 has, however, faulted Yakassai’s claim.
In a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen, yesterday, Akintola said genuine leaders of southern Nigeria were committed to restructuring the country, which he further noted can not be undermined by anybody.
“I was present at the Yoruba summit of last Thursday. In fact, I moved the motion for the adoption of our resolutions, declaration and communique. All the governors were present or represented. In fact, 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 elders, 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, Afenifere Renewal Group to which I belong, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, was represented by the Political Adviser to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, people of diverse political divides who ordinarily would not sit together.
“Critical elements of the All Progressives Congress (APC0 and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) such as yours truly and Ojudu for APC and Governor Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode for PDP together with thousands of party supporters from both sides of the divide buried our differences temporarily to discuss issue of common interest to the Yoruba of Western Nigeria. It may interest Pa Yakasai that the Yoruba elements outside the borders of Western Nigeria such as those in Kwarra, Kogi, Edo, and Delta were present in full force and made representations. …”