Fasoranti has removed Adebanjo as Afenifere Leader for supporting Peter Obi.
NewsOnline reports that Afenifere leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti has said that the meeting of the Yoruba socio-political organisation will henceforth hold in Akure, the capital of Ondo State.
He said the leaders of the group will no longer converge on Isoya Ogbo, Ijebu home of the acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
Following the shifting of the meeting venue to the residence of the leader, Adebanjo may have been removed to be the acting leader.
NewsOnline reports that this is coming a few days after Adebanjo restated the organization’s position to support the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi saying “he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office in 2023.”
He said Afenifere’s decision to support Peter Obi was because power is yet to shift to the South East.
Adebanjo, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, said Afenifere will not compromise its principle of equity, justice and inclusiveness because “one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.”
Justifying the Yoruba body’s position for a South East presidency, he said: “Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the Presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South East.
“After the primaries and the candidates emerge with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South West, APC, Atiku Abubakar on the platform of PDP and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi a candidate of Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba.
“I took my time to explain that the presidency is not a contest between the Yorubas and the Igbos and to a large extent I was able to convince many.
“But ever since social media has been filled with comments tending to ethnicize the campaign instead of making it issue-based.”
Besides, he said: “Afenifere has therefore decided to address you today and through you educate the public on the ideological and equitable principles which have influenced our decision.
“Let me state here for the benefit of those who may not know that Afenifere is the Yoruba interpretation of the social welfarist ideology of Action Group, a political party founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues in 1951 with strong advocacy for 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.
“The system was eventually agreed to by our founding fathers, Sir Ahmad Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and endorsed by the Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Littleton in 1954 and embodied in the 1960 independence constitution.
“This is the modest contribution of Afenifere in shaping Nigeria into a federation where no person or ethnic nationality is oppressed.
“In the countdown to the 2023 General elections, long before the parties conducted their Conventions to elect their National Executives and candidates, we had insisted and still advocate restructuring before the elections proposing a synthesis of the identical Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee. We did this as Afenifere and on the wider spectrum of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF.
“We did this, when politicians, in spite of the monumental crises confronting the nation, carried on as if the attainment of power was all that mattered, the SMBLF unanimously proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the disastrous 8 years of Buhari’s government headed by a President of northern extraction was to have the next President from the South.
“This position was also supported by all the southern governors, irrespective of their political parties at a meeting held in Asaba, Delta State.
“Incidentally, this North/South consideration which is at the very root of our amalgamated federation is also the most important testament of all political parties in Nigeria. The principle of federal character enshrined in the constitution dictates that the government of the federation or any part thereof shall not be concentrated in any ethnic group or a combination of such groups.
“It is, therefore, preposterous to adopt this principle for employment in public service admissions in educational institutions, political appointment, the composition of the executive committee of a political party only to jettison it in the most important question of rulership of the federation.
“In this quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of Chief Obasanjo, the current Vice President is a Yoruba man and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023. 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 6 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 marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic.
“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 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.
“On our part, we are certainly not alien to sacrificing personal interests in the quest for a National coalition to put Nigeria on the proper pedestal.
“In this regard, the starting point is Southern solidarity for which we first enacted a handshake across the Niger, which had dovetailed to the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum. 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.”
“In the final analysis, let it be said that we have no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only prosper in righteousness.
“For me, in the twilight of my sojourn on earth at 94, it is too late to derail me on the track of true federalism and National inclusiveness on which I have travelled for over 70 years of my life as one of the few surviving initial prophets, I prefer to ascend on a chariot of fire, fueled by justice and equity.”
Why Afenifere will support Peter Obi
Adebanjo further said, “he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office in 2023.”
He said Afenifere’s decision to support Peter Obi was because power is yet to shift to the South East.
Adebanjo said Afenifere will not compromise its principle of equity, justice and inclusiveness because “one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.”
Meanwhile, NewsOnline reports that Fasoranti, frontline educator and Second Republic Commissioner for Finance in Ondo State, while disagreeing with Adebanjo reiterated the group’s endorsement of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He rejected the insinuations that he was paid to endorse the Jagaban Borgu, saying that he has been a man of principle all his life.
Fasoranti said those who started meeting at Ogbo after naming Adebanjo as acting leader misunderstood and misinterpreted him.
He lamented that these people shifted the meeting of Afenifere to Adebanjo’s residence because they felt he was becoming senile.
Fasoranti said some people felt he could not comprehend things, adding that the person who said that has regretted it.
However, Fasoranti said he is not senile, adding that “there is no shaking.”
He stressed:” The reason the meeting was shifted was due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of some people that I was going senile and that I cannot comprehend. When I heard that, I reacted and the person saying that regretted it. “
In a viral video at his Akure residence, the old ‘Action Grouper’ said he will now communicate meeting schedules to Afenifere members after liasoning with the secretary and other leaders on meeting agenda.
He maintained that most Afenifere chieftains have said they will not go to Ogbo for meetings.
Following the return of meeting venue to Akure, many Afenifere chieftains disclosed that Adebanjo has ceased to be the acting leader.
A chieftain, who spoke on phone, said:” There can’t be two leaders at a time.”
Another chieftain said Adebanjo may fight back, but from a weak position, adding that the group should prepare for crisis management.
The Afenifere leader said there is no meeting point between Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, pointing out that they are two different ethnic organisations.
Fasoranti promised to leave a legacy of stability and honesty in Afenifere.
He said the organisation will continue to pursue restructuring as a cardinal belief.
The elder statesman threw his weight behind the agitation for the use of arms and ammunition by Amotekun to effectively protect the Southwest, stressing that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who is championing the crusade was on course.
He also urged the government to defend education to halt falling standard