Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, has suffered a crack over the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election. This was as result of yesterday’s declaration of intention by some chieftains of the group to support President Buhari in the 2019 general elections. Buhari is the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections. A faction led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi, in a communique issued after long hours of closed door deliberations at the House of Chiefs, Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan, disowned Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Yinka Odumakin, who had earlier declared the group’s support for Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The meeting was attended by the former governor of old Oyo State, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo, Prince Tajudeen Oluyole Olusi, Elder Yemi Alade, Muyiwa Ige, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, Prince Biodun Ogunleye and Mr. Ayo Afolabi, among others. The Chief Reuben Fasoranti- led Afenifere faction had recently declared support for the candidature of Atiku over his promise to restructure the country and adopt true federalism. But, the Publicity Secretary of the Fasanmi group, Chief Biodun Fasaye, who spoke on behalf of Senator Fasanmi after yesterday’s meeting in Ibadan, told journalists that the Fasoranti group, which threw its weight behind Atiku, is not part of them, but usurpers.
His words: “Yoruba is 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, and you can see everybody there including Senator Biyi Durojaiye, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, Baba Olusi and many others in Yorubaland who are not renegades with us.
“There was no time Afenifere has not been a sociopolitical organisation. It is a socio-cultural and political organisation and that is just the full name of Afenifere. “Let me again say that the owner of the mandate of the Yoruba people is APC. The six governors of Yorubaland are APC, all Houses of Assembly in Yorubaland are APC, so we have six speakers of Houses of Assembly.
“Those who claim to be in the other group of Afenifere, none of them have ever contested an election.The fact is there for all to see. So, they don’t have any mandate. It is our Afenifere that we are talking here that has the mandate of the Yoruba people. “By January 29, they will all be here, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to declare support for President Buhari’s re-election. We have all our governors under the progressive fold and they are our sons. We cannot go other way round. We are supporting President Buhari and Prof. Osinbajo come February 16 presidential election. “We are happy with the issue of economy of this nation, though it is collective efforts, but President Buhari is doing his best to fix all things well for the masses.
We still have hope in him that he will still do better if we vote for him come 2019 elections. “We are appealing to all Yoruba from our part of Nigeria to give support to Buhari and Osinbajo come 2019. Ayo Adebanjo, Yinka Odumakin, Olu Falae and others are not authentic. Yoruba is a nation and we must have political interest. But, Chief Adebanjo, who disclaimed the Fasanmi group, told New Telegraph that the group’s action does not amount to a crack in Afenifere.
His words: “I don’t know them. People know those who are Afenifere. They are part of APC. Let people who follow them lead them to the elections; we shall know those who will show the direction. “They are only claiming to be real Afenifere; they are entitled to their own opinion and anybody can claim anything, but people know who they are. So, there is no crack in Afenifere; there is a splinter group claiming that it is Afenifere. It is the media that is emphasizing it. “People should question them on where they have been all these days? Their leaders are in APC; they are the few that went with Bola Tinubu.
I don’t want to be reacting to them for them not to think that they are in existence.” Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, who also disclaimed the Fasanmi group, said its activities are being funded by Tinubu. “The Tinubu orchestra group that misnamed itself Afenifere is the most cruel joke cracked in Yorubaland in recent time. It is punishing responding to them were it not for the sake of those who may not know that these are election cycle Afenifere doing the bidding of Tinubu, who has plenty of money, but no history to challenge Afenifere. Where were any of these people in all the battles of the Yoruba people in all these years? “They are just a special vehicle by Tinubu that will not last beyond election. Their leader may call Tinubu for six months before getting a hello once they finish serving his purpose. They are not worth our time,” he said.