… knocks PDP over Atiku’s emergence
By Emmanuel Obisue
Apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has reeled out reasons why it is throwing its weight behind a southeastern presidency in the 2023 polls, insisting that Labour Party’s Peter Obi is the man trusted to restructure the country back to true federalism.
The group which had publicly announced its support for the candidacy of Obi, said the race to replace outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari is not a battle between the Igbos and Yorubas.
Speaking at a press conference held in Lagos on Monday, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the group, explained that Afenifere is a strong advocate of true federalism as the best form of government “to give the federating units the requisite autonomy to thrive and peacefully compete among themselves for the ultimate development of Nigeria”.
Afenifere recalled that its position was also supported by all southern governors, irrespective of their political parties, at the popular ‘Asaba Declaration’ meeting held in Delta State in May last year.
“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic.
“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and to 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,” Afenifere said.
The group further condemned the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for “sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim who will soon complete 8 years of uneventful and disastrous rule. One can imagine such a high degree of political insensitivity”.
“The current President is a Fulani from the Northwest and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently. The southwest as I have pointed out has produced a president and currently sits as VP, the South-South has spent a total of 6years 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,” Adebanjo added.
The group added that prior to the countdown to the 2023 polls, it had been an advocate of restructuring, as it proposed a synthesis of the identical “Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee”.
“We enjoin the labour movement, students, youth organisations, women associations, and every institution whose foundation is built on fairness and justice to join hands in this task of enthroning a democratic government by supporting Peter Obi. If we are sincere and honest about keeping Nigeria together in peace, the slogan henceforth should be
“To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi/Datti compliant,” Afenifere added.