Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, has said the private visit of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Akure, Ondo State, was intended to "rebuild and enhance" unity among South-West leaders.

The organization explained that the visit was devoid of any political mission but a sign of good things to come for the South-West.

Sehinde Arogbofa, the Secretary General of the organization, disclosed this during a short interview with SaharaReporters at an event in Akure on Sunday.

He said the South-West leaders had been looking for an avenue to bring the wary leaders of the Yoruba people together in unison to speak with one voice.

Mr. Tinubu, last week, had paid a visit to the foremost leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, at his private home.

He was accompanied on the visit by the former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Bisi Akande.

SaharaReporters had reported that the private visit was held behind closed doors with some of the leaders of Afenifere in attendance.

Speaking further, Mr. Arogbofa said the private visit would now unite all the South-West leaders in their struggle to achieve better development for the region.

He revealed that the Yoruba region had long sought to unite some of its estranged leaders in order to speak in one formidable voice.

Mr. Arogbofa noted that the differences in the opinions of the South-West leaders as a result of the lack of unity had made their agitation less effective than expected.

The Afenifere leader explained that the private visit of Mr. Tinubu was a good sign that will rekindle the social, political economic and cultural well-being of the South-West.

"Seriously speaking, the visit of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Afenifere leaders is to see how we can rebuild relationship among our leaders in the Yoruba region.

"I am sure you still remember that for a very long time, Tinubu and other leaders parted ways with Afenifere based on a political misunderstanding. And now that he is back, there will not be anything like divided opinions and we shall continue to move in one direction.

"It would give the South-West leaders a common voice to agitate for issues geared towards the development of the region. So, his [Tinubu] visit has shown a good sign that very soon the Yoruba race will be speaking in one voice irrespective of the political differences," he said.

Mr. Arogbofa, who denied that the visit of the APC national leader was political, also observed that the Afenifere leaders are mainly concerned about unity.

He stated emphatically that Mr. Tinubu, during his private visit to the leaders of Afenifere, did not discuss issues related to the 2019 general election.

"Nothing like that was ever discussed, but like I said earlier, what is more important now is getting our house in order first. We need unity, and that is what we are working towards. Tinubu's private visit was about reuniting the Yoruba race."

Mr. Tinubu had told journalists that he was on a private visit to praise the leadership of Pa Fasoranti.

“I am in Akure to acknowledge the leadership of Pa Fasoranti in our own race [Yoruba]. He is a great leader of the Omoluabi and in his twilight we want him to be happy.

"He has been a great leader to all of us. His intellect is still very intact. We are here to seek his advice, and to seek his understanding and prayers," he said.

Pa Fasoranti also addressed journalists and said that Mr. Tinubu's visit was an indication of great things to come to the Yoruba race.

He said that the coming together of the South-West leaders shows there will now be an understanding on issues affecting the Yoruba people.

"We will consult and move ahead. As it is now, there will be a great understanding among the leaders, as Tinubu is a leader in his own right.

"I think the visit should lead to reconciliation, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and the mainstream," he added.

Meanwhile, the ruling APC in Ondo State has also expressed optimism that Mr. Tinubu's visit would further strengthen unity among leaders of the South-West.

Steve Otaloro, the Director of Media and Publicity of the party in the state, stated this in a press release issued on Sunday.

Mr. Otaloro noted that the visit would give all members of the party assurance that the unity of the party is not negotiable.

He maintained that it would also dispel the purported rumor of cracks in the walls of the governing APC in Ondo State.

"The visit will catalyze all efforts of APC governments in the South-West to improve on developmental projects for the betterment of the people.

"This does not mean that there are disagreements among our leadership, as it has been misinterpreted in some quarters.

"By visiting the Afenifere leader and other leaders in Akure, Tinubu has promoted the unity of purpose among the Yoruba leaders and the people for them to work in unity for socioeconomic development of the land.

"However, we seize this opportunity to call on all members of our party who are currently on leave of absence to come back and let us build the party together.

"All the affected members should be rest assured that there is no dichotomy of any kind, as everyone is treated as equal and granted equal opportunities in the party," he said.

Bola Tinubu meets Pa Fasoranti and other Yoruba leaders

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