The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the Yoruba candidates ahead of next year’s presidential election.
It said any other group that fails to align with the current position would be treated usurpers and renegades.
The organisation recalled that Afenifere, as started by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, should be progressive.
Its spokesperson Biodun Akin-Fasae stated the group’s position yesterday while addressing reporters on the outcome of a meeting of delegates and elders from the six Southwest states in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The group is led by the longest-living senator in Nigeria, Pa Ayo Fasanmi.
Notable figures at the meeting included a former Oyo State Governor Omololu Olunloyo, Prince Tajudden Olusi, Dr. Abayomi Fini, Chief Adeleke Adewoyin, Prince Biodun Ogunleye, former Oyo State Deputy Governor Iyiola Oladokun and Pa Ayo Afolabi.
Governments’ representatives at the meeting included Dr Morounkola Thomas (Oyo), Mr Oladosu Oladipo, Chief Akin Fasae (Ekiti), Mr Muyiwa Ige (Osun), Prof. Adebanjo Ademodi (Ondo), Mr Tokunbo Ajasin and Mr Awa Bamiji.
Akin-Fasae said: “We have decided to host the Yoruba land in Ibadan on January 29. It is to proclaim the support of the Yoruba for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and to tell the world that the Afenifere that Baba Awolowo created before he left is still intact as a progressive movement. Any Afenifere person who is not in the progressive is not part of us.
“We are now telling the Yoruba people and the whole world that Afenifere, as enunciated and enacted by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is still intact and we are going to support President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the 2019 presidential election.”
Asked why Afenifere was supporting the Federal Government, He said: “The economy is a collective issue. The economy has been bastardised for years. As at now, President Buhari is trying his best; he is bringing the economy up. The gross domestic product (GDP) is growing. Look at the programmes for youths and the children through empowerment and school feeding programmes in schools across the country; 26 states are already in the programme and many other states are happy with it.
“So, President Buhari is trying his best and the best is yet to come. That is why we are asking people to vote for him, particularly in this Yoruba land, in the 2019 presidential election.”
On the authenticity of the support in view of another faction of the group supporting another presidential candidate, Akin-Fasae said: “The Afenifere that we know in Yoruba land is a progressive movement. This is where we are today in Ibadan. The other Afenifere (the Ayo Adebanjo group) that is talking about Abubakar Atiku are not part of us. They are usurpers.
“The Yoruba are not divided; there are not so many Afeniferes. Yoruba is a nation and even during the time of Baba Awolowo, there were dissent voices. So, we are not embarrassed. Our group is led by the longest living senator in Nigeria, Pa Ayo Fasanmi. You can see everybody there, including Senator Durojaiye, Dr Olunloyo, Baba Olusi. So, every other person in Yoruba land who is not a renegade is with us. There was no time Afenifere has not been a socio-political organisation. It is a socio-cultural and political organisation. That is just the full name of Afenifere…”