Adebanjo said it is the turn of the Igbo people to lead Nigeria because the South-East has never tasted presidency.
Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi (Punch)
The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere has reiterated its support for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, for the 2023 election.
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of the group on Monday, September 26, 2022, justified the group’s for Obi at a press conference in Lagos.
Afenifere’s reason for supporting Obi: Adebanjo said it is the turn of the Igbo people to lead Nigeria because the South-East has never tasted presidency.
He said the group would not support Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because he is Yoruba, adding that Afemifere’s support for Obi was based on the principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness.
Adebanjo said: “The South-West has produced a President and currently sits as Vice President; the South-South has spent a total of six years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.
“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria while we, at the same time, continue to brutally marginalise and exclude them from the power dynamics.
“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.
“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is a frontline candidate. It is on this same principle we condemn the Peoples Democratic Party for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim.”
Keyamo’s Reactions: However, the APC spokesperson, Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has accused Adebanjo of projecting his personal bias against Tinubu.
Keyamo said Afenifere is not the mouthpiece of the Yoruba, adding that Adebanjo is just a factional member of the group.
His Words: “The issue is that the Afenifere in question is just Pa Adebanjo trying to project his personal bias against Asiwaju. He is not pursuing any pan-Yoruba act of patriotism as claimed. No, he is not.
“Besides, his view is not the position of the entire Afenifere. He is just a factional member of the group. We are aware that there was no time Afenifere met to take such a decision.”
Recall that the council’s Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga had, in an earlier statement, described Adebanjo’s endorsement of Obi as a personal decision.
He said the Afenifere leader is free to support anyone any presidential candidate of his choice, but should not see himself as the mouthpiece of the Yoruba people.