The apex Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has again endorsed the candidacy of the Labour Party’s candidate for the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi.
The apex-Yoruba group said it considered Mr Obi based on its principled stance that Nigeria’s next president must come from the South, particularly from the South-East.
Afenifere explained in a statement on Monday that it chose Obi because he’s the most competent and suitable for the country’s top political job.
The group was reacting to the words credited to Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, over the endorsement of Mr Obi.
Akeredolu had said the Afenifere was divided with respect the endorsement of Mr Obi. He stressed that the group does not speak for the Yoruba people.
The governor stated this during a Twitter space section to discuss the topic: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Business of Nation Building,” held on Sunday evening.
Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General of the group said that the decision of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group was borne out of the need for justice, equity, and fair play, while also regretting that the South-East was the only geo-political entity that was yet to produce the nation’s president.
He said: “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 Mr. Peter Obi, by his verifiable records as a two-term Governor of Anambra State, most competent and suitable”.
Afenifere said its decision to endorse Mr Obi was a well-considered corporate decision debated for over a year of regular monthly meetings, validly conveyed in the best tradition of the organisation.
The group said that it respects governor Akeredolu and his counterparts from the Southern Governors Forum (SGF), which he leads, on their choice that Nigeria’s president must come from the south but, however, said that it won’t support Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress for ‘betraying’ the cause in 2015 for personal benefit.
“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 8 years of Buhari 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 socio cultural 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.
“This philosophy, which has inexorably become the Yoruba view, also defines Afenifere’s position, either as the initiator of NADECO, on restructuring and the need not to deny the South East their turn of Nigeria 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.
“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,” the group added.