Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Monday, reiterated its support for the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, in the 2023 presidential election.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political group stated this in its reaction to a statement credited to Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, that “Afenifere doesn’t speak for the Yoruba people on the endorsement of Obi.”
Afenifere Secretary-General, Chief Sola Ebiseni, restated the position of the group on Monday.
It said in the statement that its decision to support Peter Obi for the presidency was a corporate decision of all members of the group and in line with the decision of some other socio-cultural organisations in the country.
According to the statement, “The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the statement credited to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on the Afenifere’s endorsement of Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State, for the 2023 presidential election.
“To start with, we wish to reiterate the principled stance of the Afenifere that the next president of Nigeria should be from the South, and all things equitably considered, from the South-East, for which we consider Obi, by his verifiable records as a two-term Governor of Anambra State, most competent and suitable. It is a well considered corporate decision debated for over a year of regular monthly meetings, validly conveyed in the best tradition of the organisation.
“While we have our respect for Governor Akeredolu, and his colleagues of the Southern Governors Forum, which he leads, on their stand that it is only equitable that the next President of Nigeria, after the eight years of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of northern Nigeria extraction, should come from the South, we will not lend our support to those who betray that cause for the lucre of vice presidential porridge or those who see equity only from the parochial prism of their own ethnic benefits.
“We wish to state, for the umpteenth time, that Afenifere is not an apolitical Yoruba sociocultural organisation, but from its inception, a political machinery as the embodiment of the worldview of the Awolowo School of Thought on how Nigeria, a country of ancient and entrenched nationalities, may best be equitably, inclusively and peacefully governed. These thoughts are encapsulated in the theory and practice of true federalism in its equitable and logical dimensions.
“This philosophy, which has inexorably become the Yoruba view, also defines Afenifere’s position, either as the initiator of the NADECO, on restructuring and the need not to deny the South-East their turn of Nigeria’s presidency. Those who strive to abridge or diminish the full effect of this covenant, on the altar of partisan or cheap tribal interests, cannot claim to speak for the Yoruba and Afenifere is not in competition with them.
“The Yoruba know the organisation which speaks for them, taking hard decisions which others may initially despise but come round to embrace in the fullness of time.
“Finally, let it be said that Afenifere is not alone in this decision that the next President of Nigeria should be from the South and South-East specifically. Afenifere conveyed its resolution through a press conference on September 26, 2022. Other ethnic nationality organisations, particularly of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum of which Afenifere is a member and other well meaning Nigerian leaders are in agreement with this resolution which the nation needs most for an all-inclusive sense of belonging and attendant peaceful coexistence.
“Those who seek equity that the rulership of Nigeria is not the exclusive preserve of the North must also do equity by not seeking to score the same goal for themselves by foul means.”