By Sunday Ani
Apex Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has backed the candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, the Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo, said for equity, justice and inclusiveness, Obi from the South East, remains the only candidate that should be supported by Nigerians.
He said even before candidates emerged from various parties, Afenifere had insisted that country should be restructured but in the event that that did not happen, then the presidency should go to the South East.
He said the group’s position was informed by the fact that ordinarily, power should shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in office in accordance with the zoning principle and if it comes down South, it is only fair and just that the South East, which has not tasted power since 1999 be supported to produce the president.
“The South West, as I have pointed out, has produced a president and currently sits as vice president, the South South has spent six years in the presidency but the Igbo people of South East have never tasted presidency, and now that power is due back in the South, equity demands that it should be ceded to the Igbo.
“We cannot continue to demand the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we, at the same time continue to brutally marginalise and exclude them from the power dynamic. 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 assumption of office,” he said.
Adebanjo stressed that the group would not compromise the principle of justice, justice and inclusiveness just because one of their own, Bola Tinubu, is a frontline candidate.
The group condemned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a northern Fulani Muslim to succeed President Buhari, also a northern Fulani Muslim, describing it as the highest level of political insensitivity.
He called on the labour movement, students, youth organisations, women organisations and every institution whose foundation is built on fairness and equity to join hands to enthrone a democratic government by supporting Obi.
He said: “To keep Nigeria one, every one should be Obi/Datti compliant. In the final analysis, let it be said we have no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only progress 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, fuelled by justice and equity.”