THE Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has denied endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan for the March 28 presidential election. It also declared that another shift in election date would create constitutional crisis.
The YCE, which is also known as the “Igbimo Agba Yoruba”, spoke at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Ibadan at the weekend. The Assistant National Secretary of the non-political organisation, Bayo Olateju, who addressed reporters at the end of the meeting, said there was no need to be apprehensive about the conduct of the election as stipulated by the electoral agency.
He explained that with the Electoral Act prescribing conduct of election about 60 days before the expiration of any tenure, there could not be further shift without causing constitutional crisis.
Olateju added that with the assurances by President Goodluck Jonathan that the handover date of May 29 was sacrosanct, there was nothing to fear. The YCE scribe expressed satisfaction with the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by the INEC, stressing that with the percentage of voters claimed to have collected their cards, the electoral commission must be praised and allowed to complete the exercise as proposed.
On the controversy surrounding the adoption of Jonathan by the Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, Olateju said YCE was not part of the adoption. He reiterated the earlier pronouncement by the YCE on its non-endorsement of any candidate for the presidential election, saying: “As the fathers and mothers of all in Yorubaland, we are above partisan politics and it is our advice to our sons and daughters to vote for any candidate of their choice.
“We also frowned at the spate of violence being witnessed ahead of the elections and we are using this opportunity to appeal to our people to desist from any act capable of bringing us back to the old era. Yoruba had witnessed war before and we cannot afford re-enacting the old order”, the YCE said.