Member of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, has said that contrary to what has been in public domain it was actually the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu who spearheaded the plot to deny the late Chief Bola Ige his presidential ambition.
Okunrounmu, who also served as the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the 2014 National Conference, in an interview with The Guardian alleged that Tinubu worked surreptitiously to ensure that Ige did not emerge winner of the primary of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) because of his (Tinubu) ambition.
Okunrounmu, who said that there were several reasons for Ige to have won the primary, especially as Pa Abraham Adesanya’s deputy, who took part in appointing members of the electoral college, added that all Ige needed was only two votes from the nine elders “because once you get 1–2 votes out of 23, you have won.
The elders included Alayande, who was a commissioner under Ige. Another was Adewale Thompson, who was the Attorney General under Ige. So, if he only got those two, he would have won. This is exclusive of people like Odebiyi and Ayo Fasanmi, who were very close to Ige. This is why I said it was a surprise to me that Ige lost, which also gives the lie to these governors (AD governors) saying they supported Ige. Many of them did not vote for Ige, because from my analysis, if they had voted for him, he wouldn’t have lost.
“I happened to know and it was widely rumoured then that Bola Tinubu distributed money to some of them to vote against Ige because of his (Tinubu) ambition. He had this overriding ambition to become the Yoruba leader and he felt the person in his way was Ige. He wanted to more or less suppress Ige; he didn’t want him to emerge as presidential candidate. Tinubu worked against Ige,” he alleged.
On the possibility of the Southwest producing the president in 2023, he said, “I believe in fairness and justice. We took some decisions at the 2014 National Conference, which was based on fairness and justice in terms of the Presidency, and one of the decisions was that the Presidency should rotate between North and South and also between the geo-political zones.
The Southwest has had eight years, the North has had and the South South had it. Now Buhari is having it from the North, but when it returns to the South it should go to the South East.”
When his views were sought on the persistent clamour for the country’s restructuring and the way it appears a difficult task, Okunrounmu regretted that the “1999 Constitution is deliberately programmed against the South. It is programmed against restructuring and against anything that will bring justice and equity between the North and the South.
The successive military leaders through whom the 1999 Constitution came about deliberately programmed it to give the North permanent advantage over the South. So, working by the 1999 Constitution, anything the North does not want cannot be achieved in the country. Therefore, if you say we must go through the same Constitution, then we have accepted our servitude to the North. Until we change it, there cannot be justice and equity.”