Ahead of the 2023 general election, a pan-Yoruba social-political group, Afenifere has affirmed that the group will always show support for the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.
The group leader declared this in an online Radio Program, ‘Yoruba Gbode’, stating that “Peter Obi can rule autonomously without the influence of those criminals in the government and said “Tinubu will only give continuity to Buhari’s incompetence.”
In a statement on Monday, Sept 26, tagged “Why Afenifere Supports South East Presidential Candidate for 2023 Presidency”, responding to the All Progressives Congress, APC Spokesperson, for Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Bayo Olanuga’s Facebook page said he always speaks for himself without speaking for the group.
Adebanjo in his response noted, “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.”
In his words, Adebanjo asserted that the presidency is not a contest between Igbo and Yoruba, explaining that the group, Afenifere is a social welfarist ideology, of the then Action Group, a party that advocate federalism as the beat form of government founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues in 1951.
Speaking further, Adebanjo said that the group was contributing to the Nigeria federation where no person or ethnic nationality would be undermined or oppressed.
“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.”
The group said that the quest for peace based on equity and inclusiveness had made Yoruba to take the first turn of zoning arrangement in 1999 that brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the North taking a turn, rotating back to Yoruba being the Vice President under a President from the northwest axis while the South-East is marginalised.
Adebanjo thereby begged that presidential power return to the Igbo people of the South-East since power has rotated back to the South for equity.
“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.
Majority of the Yorubas believe the pressure group to be a legitimate group that is serving their interests and maintaining the dwindling influence of Yorubaland in the Federation. The group is considered to be a necessary body to preserve the ethnic identity of the Yorubas.
Recall that, Afenifere supported Buhari in the 2019 presidential election and according to a report published by the Punch in 2018, the group stated that Afenifere means progressive and it’s only supporting the only All Progressives Congress, APC in the election.