Afenifere leaders have been described as impostors who should stop parading themselves as Yoruba leaders.
Giving the advice in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, the immediate past chairman, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos State, and ex-chairman, Conference of APC States Chairmen, Chief Henry Ajomale urged Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Senator Femi Okurounmu to stop describing themselves as Yoruba leaders and spokespersons. He spoke on various issues.
As an associate of the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has been with him before and since the formation of the Alliance for Democracy in 1999 till now, what’s your reaction to claims by Senator Femi Okurounmu that Tinubu and the former Acting National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande including the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who were all known to be advocates of restructuring have recanted, and betrayed the cause?
It is very unfortunate that Okurounmu is peddling falsehood against Tinubu, Bisi Akande and the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Okurounmu’s claims in that interview with Sunday Sun newspaper penultimate week were all tissues of lies, and I’m shocked that Okurounmu, a septuagenarian like myself could be distorting political history because of his personal bias against Tinubu, President Muhammadu Buhari and APC.
Okurounmu and Pa Ayo Adebanjo and others in their camp who have been parading themselves as Yoruba leaders have not hidden their dislike for Buhari, and Tinubu, and that’s why instead of playing the roles of elders expected of them have been openly partisan. They have openly endorsed Atiku Abubakar as their choice while calling on Nigerians, especially the Yoruba not to vote for President Buhari in 2019.
But what Okurounmu, Ayo Adebanjo and these so-called Afenifere leaders should realize is that the same way they campaigned against Buhari and APC in 2015 and failed, they are going to fail again. Atiku and PDP that they are backing will lose to Buhari and APC again in 2019.
Okurounmu, Adebanjo and others in their camp, who parade themselves as Yoruba leaders are impostors. They are self-appointed leaders who just sat in the corner of their rooms to proclaim themselves as Yoruba leaders. They are just dressing themselves in borrowed robes.
Are you saying that Pa Adebanjo and Senator Okurounmu are not Yoruba leaders …
That’s exactly what I’m saying. They are just imposing themselves as Yoruba leaders. At which general congress of the Yoruba were they elected as Yoruba leaders? Who voted for them? Who convened that congress where they were elected as Yoruba leaders?
Yoruba people know who their true leaders are? If Okurounmu, Adebanjo and Fasoranti are truly Yoruba leaders who have electoral values, why did the Yoruba people not listen to them in 2015 when they openly campaigned against APC and President Muhammadu Buhari? The Yoruba and the entire South West ignored them and voted for APC and Buhari.
In 2015, these people who called themselves elders openly took side by declaring their support for PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
But what eventually happened during the election? Yoruba people listened to their true and genuine leaders like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande by voting for APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, and today the South West and Yoruba are better for it.
I want to say categorically here again that in 2019, Okurounmu, Adebanjo and these people who parade themselves as Yoruba leaders are going to lose to Buhari and APC.
Yoruba are again going to listen to their genuine and true leaders by voting for Buhari and APC. No amount of gang-up by Afenifere leaders against Buhari and APC will succeed. Afenifere’s evil plot against APC and Buhari is doomed to fail. Okruounmu and Adebanjo are just noise makers who have no electoral value. Yoruba people won’t listen to them.
But you’ve not addressed the allegation of Tinubu, Akande and Osinbajo recanting on restructuring?
On that, I want to add that Tinubu, Akande and Osinbajo have never and will never abandon restructuring.
The point of disagreement between Tinubu and these Afenifere leaders on restructuring is that Tinubu has always been an advocate of the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, and at every given opportunity Tinubu has always maintained that it is through the Sovereign National Conference that issues of restructuring and other national issues can be genuinely addressed. Up till this particular moment, Tinubu still believes that Sovereign National Conference is the panacea to addressing all these issues including restructuring.
But the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan organised National Conference and the template for carrying out restructuring has been laid out, and what many Nigerians are saying is that the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari and APC are not favourably inclined towards the implementation of the confab reports and recommendations?
Jonathan’s confab is nothing but a mockery of what a confab should be. It was not only a charade but that confab was also a political jamboree. That confab was a waste of Nigeria’s resources. The confab was just what you call “job for the boys”.
Why do you say so?
There was no element of seriousness in that confab at all and Nigerians were eye witnesses to what transpired during that period. During that confab, most of the delegates were sleeping during deliberations. It was also at that confab that you have husbands and wives as delegates. They turned the whole thing into a family affair. Those people that went there just went to the conference to collect allowances. Not only that Jonathan organized that confab as a distraction, to distract attention of Nigerians from his corrupt and ineffective administration. He organised the confab to provide avenue to what some people call national cake, especially for those who were loyal to him.
Okurounmu was also part of that jamboree called national confab. He was the chairman of the committee that laid the ground for Jonathan’s confab takeoff. So, Nigerians should now understand why Okurounmu hate APC and Buhari and why he is always ready to defend former President Goodluck Jonathan and his political party, PDP.
Okurounmu is just using the Afenifere platform to protect his own interests, and not the larger interests of the Yoruba. Okurounmu is a sympathizer of PDP. The same thing goes for Pa Adebanjo and that was why they openly called on Yoruba not to vote for APC during the rerun election in Osun State. But as God will have it, APC won the election.
While you are expressing optimism that President Buhari will win the 2019 presidential election, some Nigerians have expressed their support for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who they describe as the right man for the job?
Atiku has nothing to offer. There is no basis at all for comparison between Buhari and Atiku. While Buhari is a man of integrity and principle, Atiku is opposite of that.
Atiku is just desperate for political power. Atiku is a political prostitute who has been jumping from one party to another. Was he not with us in APC before? But because of his desperation for power, he ran away to PDP. He later came back to APC, but now he has ran back to PDP. Do you call such a person a politician? Mark my word, after failing in 2019, Atiku will run back to APC. He doesn’t have any political ideology. It is only enemies of Nigeria that will wish that Atiku Abubakar should become president of Nigeria. It is only enemies of Nigeria that will wish that PDP should come back to power after the party’s 16 year of rule ruined Nigeria.
If not that Buhari and APC won 2015 general elections, Nigeria would have by now become a failed state. PDP was a big burden on Nigeria.
But some Nigerians are saying that APC has not fared better than PDP, what do you have to say to that?
It is only mischievous Nigerians, or those that have short memory or apologists of PDP that will make that ridiculous claim.
PDP ruined Nigeria, but APC under Buhari’s watch has been rebuilding and restoring Nigeria’s lost glory. Look at the transformations in the power sector, infrastructural facilities development in the areas of road and rail construction under APC and Buhari. What about the war against corruption and recovery of stolen loot?
Buhari is poised to do more. But his political enemies who are not happy by the achievements of his administration are behind some of these problems being witnessed in the area of insecurity, but Buhari is on top of the situation. His re-election in 2019 will set Nigeria on the path of higher greatness. For those who put their hope in Atiku, such hope is a misplaced one. Buhari will defeat Atiku hands down. As the saying goes that Friday night shows how Saturday morning will look like, just look at all the recent bye-elections across the country, see how APC has been defeating PDP. Come 2019, APC will inflict a crushing defeat on PDP.
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