From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ahead of the 2023 presidential poll, major socio-cultural and political organisations in the South-West are currently divided over which of the leading political parties and presidential candidates to support for president.
The leading presidential candidates include Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
In separate interviews with Saturday Sun, the groups were not on the same page on which candidate they would support for President.
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) said it has made its position known prior to the presidential primaries conducted by various political parties that the next president of Nigeria must come from the South.
In a telephone interview with Saturday Sun, the Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide asserted that the council would throw its weight behind Tinubu to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari next year.
He noted that the council would back Tinubu because he has contributed immensely to the nation’s development, saying the former Lagos governor was competent to serve as president of the country.
Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, has, however, ha never hidden his preference for the South East to produce the next President of Nigeria. But it could not be immediately confirmed whether his position is the same as that of the entire organisation. Saturday Sun reached out to some chieftains of Afenifere on the issue. But they said they would not make comments on the stance of Pa Adebanjo for the 2023 presidential poll.
All efforts to contact the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Jare Ajayi, on his mobile phone for the official position of Afenifere on the issue failed.
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), on its part, said it was more concerned with the issue of restructuring of the country.
Iba Gani Adams, who is the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, and who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Alhaji Kehinde Aderemi, said the group was only interested in the restructuring of Nigeria such that true federalism would be practised in the country. He said the group had never been a political one and would not dabble into politics.
“Aare Adams has been advocating restructuring of Nigerian into regions like we used to have in the past in this country, which made each region to develop at its own pace, have state police, have control over its resources and so on. This is what we stand for. We are concerned about security and cultural promotion of Yorubaland. We are not politicians.”
The Leader of Apapo Egbe Alaabo Ile Oodua (Homeland Defence and Security Initiative), Dr. Victor Taiwo, also told Saturday Sun that the organisation was apolitical and only concerned about adequate security of lives and property in Yorubaland.
The apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), which spoke through Mr Maxwell Adeleye, noted that the group had no faith in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. He explained that the IOO had been fighting against the conduct of the 2023 general elections, maintaining that it would not support any candidate.