Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has faulted Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for saying the group is divided over endorsement of Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseni, in a statement in Akure, yesterday, said the Ondo governor could neither speak for the Yoruba race nor Afenifere on endorsement of Obi ahead of 2023 general elections.
Akeredolu, who is also the South West Coordinator of the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been quoted as saying: “Afenifere doesn’t speak for the Yoruba people on the endorsement of the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi,” and “Afenifere is divided in respect of the purported endorsement.”
But Ebiseni said: “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 Buhari of Northern 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 National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), or on restructuring and the need not to deny the South East their turn of Nigeria presidency.”
He added: “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.”