By Sunday Ani
Pan-Igbo think-tank, Nzuko Umunna, has assured the new Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo of its unflinching support and solidarity, even as it congratulated the Yoruba nation on the smooth change of leadership.
In a statement jointly signed by the group’s Coordinator and Secretary, Ngozi Odumuko and Paschal Mbanefo respectively, Nzuko Umunna expressed confidence that Adebanjo’s wealth of experience, courage and uncommon sense of history, would position the Afenifere for the challenges of nation-building, and in confronting the threats that assail the country.
While urging the Yoruba nation to accord the same level of support to the new leader, the Igbo group described the process that produced Pa Adebanjo as rancour-free and a testament to his engaging pedigree, widespread acceptance and the confidence reposed in him by his people.
Expressing satisfaction with the process, the Igbo group said it has no doubt that Pa Adebanjo, who had forged a historic handshake, particularly with Nzuko Umunna, and Ndigbo in general, would acquit himself most creditably in the new national assignment.
“A relentless Awoist and confidant of the late sage, Pa Adebanjo has always placed a premium on cementing the historic bond of brotherhood and solidarity between Ndigbo and their Yoruba brethren. Instructively, Pa Adebanjo participated actively at the “Handshake Across the Niger” conference jointly hosted by Nzuko Umunna and Afenifere,” the statement said.
The group also congratulated the Alaago of Kajola Ago, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, on his election as the deputy leader of Afenifere, as well as the immediate past leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on his principled and outstanding tour of duty, especially at critical moments, and even at a ripe old age of 95. “Nzuko Umunna will soon engage with the new Afenifere leadership in order to further cement the strategic partnership between our organisations and peoples,” the statement said.