A faction of Afenifere, a pan Yoruba social-cultural group, has endorsed the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general election and President Muhammadu Buhari for the Februaury 16 presidential election.
The faction, led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi, endorsed Buhari and APC at a summit in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday, on the heels of the December 28, 2018 endorsement.
Senator Biyi Durojaiye raised a motion to the effect that the Yoruba support the president and the ruling party in the general election.
Five other leaders of the Afenifere faction, who supported the endorsement were Tajudeen Olusi (Lagos), Bayonile Ademodi (Ondo), Yemi Alade (Ekiti), S. M. Akindele (Oyo), and Sooko Adewoyin (Osun).
The group, at the endorsement which took place at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, yesterday, argued that it endorsed Buhari because he had performed well.
At the event were Buhari’s deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, Fasanmi, Deputy Governors of Lagos and Osun states, Idiat Adebule and Yetunde Onanuga, respectively, and a former minister, Demola Seriki, who represented former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
Traditional rulers at the event included the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Rufus Adedejuyigbe; Akirun of Ikirun, Abioye Oyebode and Oniye of Iye Ekiti, Adeleye Oni.
Lagos APC governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was also at the event.
Earlier, Fasanmi said: “I want all of you to work and vote for Buhari, who has performed very credibly, and I think he deserves a second term in office. He is the only candidate who is campaigning about corrupt free society. I’m pleased that all the South West are under the APC fold.”
Fasanmi leads a faction of Afenifere separate from the main body, led by Reuben Fasoranti. The Fasoranti-group is believed to be backing Buhari’s main challenger in the election, Atiku Abubakar.
Osinbajo, in his remarks, thanked Afenifere for the endorsement, and added that the group has been promoting the ideals which the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, stood for in his lifetime.
He, however, urged all Yoruba sons and daughters in Nigeria and in the Diaspora to be united and approach the 2019 general election from the point of view that the Yoruba race should be in the mainstream of governance in the country.
Osinbajo, who reiterated the speech he presented at a colloquium in honour of a former governor of Osun State and former interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, said restructuring of Nigeria is the way to go, but, the modality to restructure the country must be properly defined.
“On the restructuring question, I don’t think there should be much argument about the fact that we do need restructuring of our country, one way or the other. The questions, of course, is the focus. How should it be done? In what way? One of the key things is that, in order to achieve any kind of restructuring, we need stronger states. What does a concept of stronger states mean? It means two things.
“The first is what states must do for themselves. By that, I mean the three arms of government, which are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should work proactively and creatively together.
“The second is devolution of more powers to the states; enabling the states to control more of their resources and make more of their aggressive decisions, such as creation of local governments, state police, community policing, including state prisons, creation of special courts and tribunals of provident jurisdiction to the High Court. The point I’m making is that states must have more powers and more rights.
“I want to say categorically that what we are doubting today is a matter of method. How? It is not a matter of whether it’s good or whether we should do it or we should not. The question is how should it be done. We should focus our attention on the how.”