The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has described as tissues of lies a statement made by Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information, that Yoruba leaders jettisoned the agenda of the region at the 2005 constitutional conference after pressures from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Momoh, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), hadin an interview with Independent said he once described Yoruba leaders as a “disgrace to those who believe in them” for dumping the Yoruba agenda at the conference.
Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, challenged Momoh to name the Yoruba leaders who betrayed the cause of the Yoruba nation.
Shedding light on what transpired at the conference, the Afenifere spokesman told Independent: “The President of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nwodo, said to Chief Bisi Akande at the 10th memorial of Senator Abraham Adesanya that if elders like him can no longer speak the truth because of APC card, Nigeria is in deep trouble.
“In like manner, I will say if an elder statesman and veteran journalist whose words people should swear with like Prince Momoh begins to deal in low-quality rumours and fake lies, Project Nigeria is doomed.
“We were all in this country in 2005 when the political conference took place.
“All delegates to that conference were handpicked by the government.
“The leaders of the regions were not allowed to pick their delegates as governors did the picking.
“Leaders of Yoruba tried to influence the governors as PDP controlled five states then, except Lagos.
“We had a meeting with the PDP governors in Ladoja’s office in Ibadan. Gen Alani Akinrinade, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, and some of us were there.
“The governors agreed to set up a Technical Committee headed by Chief Richard Akinjide, myself, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Mr. Remi Olatubora, and about 10 others.
“We met for three days at the University of Ibadan and got our report ready, mirroring the agreed positions of Yoruba for the conference.
“We went back to the governors in Ibadan and met a totally hostile bunch who rejected all key ingredients of Yoruba agenda and they would not consider anybody who would not toe their line as a delegate.
“We left them realising they were not going to follow the Yoruba agenda.
“Otunba Gbenga Daniel offered to keep the Technical Committee to keep the pressure on delegates in Abuja.
“But those of us who were independent of the governors declined further participation as our chairman had already openly disowned our report and the governors were going to play their game.
“Leaders of Yoruba retreated and empowered a committee to launch the Yoruba agenda rejected by the governors.
“Our Committee, headed by Ambassador Olu Otunla, launched the document at Okokan Stadium with Yoruba leaders in attendance to let the world know our stand.
“Aside from the PDP governors who frustrated the agenda, Afenifere also accused Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was the only governor then in the opposition, of moving against the agenda by producing a Lagos agenda.
“The Lagos State which was not under PDP which should have at least been a fall back was not there as Tinubu also rejected all main planks of Yoruba agenda and produced a Lagos agenda.
“Yoruba participation at the conference was therefore governmental, and I challenge our revisionist Prince to name those Yoruba leaders who betrayed an agenda that did not get to Abuja.”
On the claim by Momoh that there was no way President Buhari could have called for the release of the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12 presidential election during his detention under Abacha, Odumakin said the former national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) should be in hiding now for saying Nigerians should stone APC leaders if they fail to perform.
“You remember Prince Momoh was the Information Minister when Dele Giwa was parcel-bombed in 1986?
“He promised the country there would be a judicial probe of the incident. He was to later say such a probe would serve no purpose.
“How do you expect such apostle of double-speak to accept anybody to make the right call in a moment of moral crisis?
“Was he not the one who said Nigerians should stone APC leaders if they failed them during their campaign in 2015? Should he not be hiding now if it were a decent clime?