Adebanjo Supports Obi’s Presidency

Afenifere’s leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, has reaffirmed the reasons why his organisation will continue to support Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, among other contenders in the next 2023 General Election.

The Afenifere chieftain had previously expressed the support of the organisation for the LP presidential candidate in an online radio program called “Yoruba Gbode,” where he stated that Peter Obi could rule independently without the influence of those criminals in the government and emphasised that Tinubu would only continue Buhari’s incompetence.

In a statement made available to The PUNCH on Monday, September 26, 2022, titled, “Why Afenifere Supports South East Presidential Candidate for 2023 Presidency”, in response to the spokesperson for the All Progressives Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Bayo Onanuga’s Facebook post accusing him (Adebanjo) of speaking for himself and not the group, Adebanjo said, “Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked, what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the Presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South-East.

“After the primaries and the candidates emerged with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South-West, APC; Atiku Abubakar on the platform of the PDP and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi, a candidate of the Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba.”

Adebanjo clarified that the presidency is not a race-based contest between the Yoruba and the Igbo, adding that Afenifere is a Yoruba interpretation of the social welfareist ideology of the Action Group, a political party established in 1951 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his associates, which promoted federalism as the best form of government to allow the federating units the autonomy to flourish and, ultimately, for peace to exist in the nation.

Adebanjo went on to say that the organisation was helping to make Nigeria into a federation in which no person or ethnic group would be marginalised or mistreated.

“In the countdown to the 2023 General Election, long before the parties conducted their Conventions to elect their National Executives and candidates, we had insisted and still advocate restructuring before the elections proposing a synthesis of the identical Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El-Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee.

“We did this as Afenifere and on the wider spectrum of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum.

“We did this when politicians, in spite of the monumental crises confronting the nation, carried on as if the attainment of power was all that mattered, the SMBLF unanimously proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the disastrous eight years of Buhari’s government headed by a President of northern extraction was to have the next President from the South.”

In 1999, the Yoruba took the first turn of the zoning arrangement, bringing in former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the North took a turn, rotating back to Yoruba being the Vice President under a President from the northwest axis while the South-East is marginalised, the nonagenarian claimed. This was done in an effort to achieve peace based on equity and inclusiveness.

However, he argued that since power had been returned to the South for reasons of equality, it should be given to the Igbo people of the South-East.

“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back. He is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.

“To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi-Datti compliant,” he added.

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