Leaders of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, are divided over the ambitions of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Labour Party candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
The leaders of the Afenifere led by Pa Ayo Adebanjo and leaders of the Afenifere Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba led by Tajudeen Olusi, are at war over the support of the two factions of the same Yoruba group for different presidential candidates.
Candidreporters recalls that Adebanjo-led Afenifere has openly declared support for Obi, who is from the South-East, Olusi-led group is routing for Tinubu, who is a Yoruba man.
Adebanjo had described Obi as the right candidate to support while soliciting Nigerians’ votes for him.
He also said the South-East which had not produced a president should also be backed to achieve that in 2023.
Adebanjo had said, “It is only Peter Obi that can rule independently without the influence of these criminals in the government. Tinubu will only give continuity to Buhari’s incompetence.
“We know Peter Obi very well , that’s why we endorsed him. He will not disappoint Nigerians, let’s put tribal differences apart and vote the right leader in.
“Tinubu sold Buhari to over 200 million Nigerians for his own selfish interest of wanting to rule after Buhari. None of them loves Nigeria.”
But the Olusi-led Afenifere in a paid advertorial published in THE PUNCH on Wednesday warned Adebanjo to stop desecrating the Afenifere name as well as the legacies of its last leaders like Pa Obafemi Awolowo; Pa Adekunle Ajasin and Pa Abrahan Adesanya.
The Olusi-led paid advert read in part, ” The most recent interview granted by Pa Ayo Adebanjo in the name of Afenifere in which he endorsed Mr Peter Obi and the Labour Party has proved, beyond all shades of doubt, that Baba is bent on cutting his nose, even if means destroying his face and his race in the process.
“He has hijacked, personalised and privatised the Afenifere name to pursue strange goals that have no benefit whatsoever to our people in the South-West. Worse still, he no longer feels that he is under any obligation to explain to anyone what informed the media pronouncements he makes in the name of Afenifere and how such decisions will promote the welfare of our people.
“In his desperation to vilify, oppose and denigrate everything that has a link with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Pa Adebanjo has again abused the Afenifere platform by glibly asking the people of the South-West to abandon the APC, a party in which our people have found political accommodation in the past 8 years, to go and queue in the Labour Party, a fringe party in which the South-West parades no credible political leader.
“While we recognise the right of Pa Ayo Adebanjo to campaign and vote for any candidate of his choice, we strongly advise him to desist from desecrating the name and legacy of Afenifere in his bid to run down a man who has been greatly blessed by providence.
“Afenifere Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba totally dissociates itself from the baseless endorsement of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, HE Peter Obi by Pa Ayo Adebanjo. It represents an option that does not offer any benefit for the teeming millions of the people of the South-West, particularly those who are not ready to cut their noses to spite.
“In attempting to dismiss and rubbish the feat achieved by Asiwaju within the APC, Pa Ayo Adebanjo has acted contrary to age-old custom and betrayed his role as an elder. By further dragging Afenifere’s name into this ignoble act that is clearly unbecoming of an elder, he has desecrated and rubbished the illustrious legacy of his departed colleagues such as Baba Awo, Pa Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya to mention a few.”