As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has lent its voice in the demands for a rotational presidency, stressing that its interest is on a leader of the capability, capacity and character to lead and unite the country.
The group made the statement through its Secretary, Dr Kunle Olajide. According to him, every country should be given equal rights to produce the president in the coming race.
He said: “YCE is not interested in the 2023 presidency coming from anywhere. We want somebody who has the capability, capacity and character to lead and unite this country again. It has never been this polarised before.
“My president (of YCE Justice Ademola Bakre retd) said when he fielded questions from journalists last week Thursday that it is not a matter of whether it is the turn of a particular person or zone. My president asked if the South-East had produced a president for Nigeria in the past. People can say it is not our turn (in Yorubaland) and say further that it is the turn of the South East.
“What is important to us here (YCE) is somebody who has capability, capacity, character, and competence to unite us in this country so that we can have peace and go for development. The president can come from any part of Nigeria. What are we talking about? Some people have governors as neighbours, and they have never benefitted anything from them.
“In other words, we want a new constitution for Nigeria. We need a president that will believe in the new form. This is because the present body cannot do it. We should not deceive ourselves and focus on who wants to become the president in 2023. We will present our terms for Yorubaland before him, and we’ll sign documents. The Atiku Group visited me at Efon-Alaaye, and I hosted them for one night. They saw me, and we discussed this thing until about 3 a.m. before they went to bed.
“For us in YCE, this country has been too badly polarized. So, we need somebody, who will come and inspire confidence in all Nigerians and give every Nigerian a sense of belonging, no matter where he comes from. The character, capacity and the track record of the person that wants to become president matter to us a lot.”
Olajide, who cutter spoke on several calls for restructuring, said: “restructuring means you have endorsed the National Assembly. I have stopped talking about restructuring for the pay one year. How can you have over 400 people in the National Assembly spending 25 per cent of our annual recurrent expenditure in Nigeria? The maximum number of National Assembly members should not be more than 250, with equal representation from the states. And few items should be on the Exclusive List. So, restructuring, for me, is half measure and superficial. The new constitution that we will all sit down together and decide the powers vested in the states and the Federal Government is the best thing.
“If the presidential aspirant is from Yorubaland and he has all the qualities enumerated, why not? It is not that he will not compete. Let everybody aspiring to become president come out. There are competent and capable people all over Nigeria. Let them come and show us their credentials.”