The Pan Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere on Thursday announced its endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the Yoruba candidates for the 2019 Presidential election.
Briefing newsmen at the House of Chiefs, Oyo State House of Assembly Complex, in Ibadan after a meeting of the Senator Ayo Fasanmi led faction of Afenifere, the group’s spokesman, Chief Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae said the official adoption of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo will come up in Ibadan on Tuesday, January, 29, 2019.
Chief Akin-Fasae pointed out that as far Afenifere was concerned in the entire Yorubaland, it is the Senator Fasanmi led Afenifere that is the authentic Afenifere, saying, “any other group who are not with the Yorubas on the decision and choice are usurpers and renegades”.
According to the Afenifere spokesman, ” Afenifere, as started by the late Sage Obafemi Awolowo, is known for being progressive”, and that the real Afenifere founded by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is still intact”
“We are now telling the whole Yoruba people and the whole world that Afenifere, as enunciated and enacted by Late Sage Obafemi Awolowo is still intact and we are going to support President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo come 2019 Presidential election.” he said.
The Afenifere spokesperson added,
“we have decided to host the whole Yorubaland in Ibadan on January 29, 2019. It is to proclaim the support of the Yorubaland for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and also to tell the whole world that the Afenifere that Baba Awolowo created before he left is still intact as a progressive movement and any Afenifere person who is not in the progressive is not part of us.”
Speaking further on why the Afenifere resolved into supporting President Buhari despite the series of challenges facing the country particularly the economic situation of the country, Chief Akin-Fasae he stressed that “the issue of the economy is a collective issue. The economy has been bastardised for years and as at now, President Buhari is trying his best, he is bringing the economy up, the GDP is growing. Look at the programmes for the 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.”
“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 come 2019 Presidential election.”
When asked 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 Yorubaland is a progressive movement and this is where we are today in Ibadan. The other Afenifere (the Ayo Adebanjo Group) that is talking about Atiku are not part of us. They are usurpers in the group. They are usurpers.
On whether the Yoruba people are now divided on who to support for the 2019 Presidential election as another faction of Afenifere has already endorsed the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Akin Fasae, said,
“Yoruba is not divided, there are not so many Afeniferes.”
According to him, “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 so every other person in Yorubaland who is not a renegade is with us. There was no time Afenifere has not been a socio-political organization. It is a socio-cultural and political organization 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 assemblies, so you can imagine.
“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 and you will see them here on the day. By January 29, they will all be here including the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to declare support for the President Muhammadu Buhari re-election.”
The meeting was attended by delegates and elders from the six Southwest states, comprising of Senator Ayo Fasanmi, a former governor of Oyo state, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, Prince Tajudden Olusi, Dr. Abayomi Fini, Chief Adeleke Adewoyin, Prince Biodun Ogunleye, a former Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Mr Ayo Afolabi as well as representatives of states in the South West, 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 among others.