The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State has said those supporting President Muhammadu Buhari in the Southwest region were only doing so for selfish interests, saying; “looking back at the damage done to the region between 1984 and 1985 that Buhari was Military Head of State and its total abandonment since 2015, genuine Yoruba person will never want him (Buhari) to continue in office beyond this year.”
The party, which described restructuring as the only path to the progress of Nigeria, hailed its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar for promising to begin the process of restructuring the country within six months of assumption of office if elected.
Director of Media and Publicity of the Atiku/Obi PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Ekiti state, Lere Olayinka, in a statement on Sunday, challenged those still supporting the President in the Southwest to mention what he did for the region since 2015, adding that “even those youths who voted for Buhari in 2015 because they never witnessed him as a military ruler can now judge him with his woeful performance as a civilian president.”
At the All Progressives Congress (APC) South West Women and Youth Presidential campaign rally in Ibadan on Saturday, wife of Ekiti state governor, Bisi Fayemi, who spoke on behalf of wives of governors of the South West had said the South West would not leave the “path of progress and development outlined by Buhari for the bush.”
Responding, Olayinka said; “It is on record that in 1984, Buhari took the Southwest off the path of progress and development outlined by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo led Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) by cancelling total free education and free health programs being enjoyed in the region as well as the Lagos Metroline project and other developmental projects. He even made moves to merge Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with University of Ibadan before he was ousted in 1985.
“It is also on record that Buhari abandoned the Southwest when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under late General Sani Abacha and has done nothing for the region since 2015.”
Olayinka urged people of the Southwest, especially the youths to google the Lagos Metroline network conceived in 1980 by Alhaji Lateef Jakande, adding that; “The Metroline project was scrapped in 1985 by Buhari at a loss of over $78 million to the Lagos tax payers.
“If Buhari had not cancelled that project out of hatred for the Yoruba people, transportation in Lagos would have been better than it is now and for 20 years (1999 – 2019) that Lagos State has been ruled by the APC under different names, nothing has been done to revive the project.”
He said it was sad that because of personal interests, some people were now pretending not to be aware of the humiliating treatment Buhari gave the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and other notable Yoruba leaders.
“In demonstration of his hatred for the Southwest region, Buhari impounded the international passport of Awolowo and denied the man visits to his doctors at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota, USA. The passport was only returned to him with courtesies by General Ibrahim Babangida after Buhari was overthrown i in 1985. It was however too late as Awolowo died in 1987!
“It is also on record that Chief Olabisi Onabanjo was abducted by military men while recuperating from a surgical operation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He was sent to Bauchi prison. Those who have read history of governance in Nigeria will know how well the likes of Onabanjo, Jakande, Chief Michael Ajasin and Bola Ige contributed to the development of the Southwest. Yet, they were jailed by Buhari,” he said.
Olayinka said the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu saw President Buhari better in 2003 when he described him as “an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”
“Today, what Tinubu said in 2003 about the President is playing out but those who only see his reelection as the path to sustaining themselves in power will promote Buhari in public while they complain about his cluelessness in private.”