Former Ekiti State Governor and a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ayo Fayose, has visited some leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, begging them to forgive Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and endorse his candidacy for the presidency in 2023.
New National Star could not confirm as of press time whether Fayose was sent by Tinubu or he went of his own volition. The meeting was held last week at the Lekki, Lagos home of Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo. “He was in my house. Yes we were just discussing’, was Pa Adebanjo’s reaction when New National Star called him to confirm Fayose’s visit.
Another Afenifere Chieftain who attended the meeting, Comrade Yinka Odumakin who is the National Publicity Secretary of the group said;” We are elders in Yoruba land. And when the former governor (Fayose) called and said he was coming.
We talked, we obliged him. And when he came, he made a case on why Afenifere should please be soft on Tinubu; and part of the decision we made that we will not intervene in the EFCC case. And we also made it clear to him that the Lagosians who have suffered untold consequences in the case of corruption in Lagos are Yoruba people, not the Igbo, they are not other nationalities, we have to defend them too.
So, if anybody is accused of corruption, the person should be able to defend himself, not us throwing the tribal garb for us to defend anybody. We appreciated his coming”. Pa Adebanjo said Afenifere was not under any pressure to support Tinubu in his political journey. His words; “Who is pressuring us? Are we that cheap for anybody to pressurize? Who in this country can pressurize us? That is unthinkable. Nobody in this country can have the temerity to pressurize Afenifere. Do you know what Afenifere stands for? It has its own principles and ideas.
I don’t know where you heard it from anyway. Asked why Fayose, a PDP Chieftain is championing the cause of Asiwaju Tinubu who is an APC national leader, Odumakin said,” Well, all these parties today are just mere labels for elections. The northerners, Fulanis, who are defending bandits and criminals fall across APC and PDP. The governor of Bauchi State who has made a career of defending criminals and bandits and killer Fulani herdsmen is a PDP man. Buhari who is shielding them and who is their grand patron is an APC man.
There is no need for a clash in our own culture. It is not our political party.” On whether Afenifere has accepted to endorse Asiwaju Tinubu for the 2023 Presidential election, Odumakin said, “We have not endorsed anybody for the presidency in 2023. It is too young a time to do that. When the time comes, we will look at the urgent condition and we would decide if we are participating in the election and if there is any player worthy of our support.”
Pa Adebanjo was more categorical;” I don’t believe in 2023 and nobody can pressurize me to. I don’t believe that 2023 is feasible without restructuring this country. If my son wants to contest presidency under this constitution, I will expose him. From there you get your conclusion. Contacted for comments on whether the PDP would sanction the former governor for anti-party activity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary said;” It is not an issue before the party. So far so good I don’t have that information. What the PDP is doing for now is that we are working on how to win our off-season elections as we have in Anambra, as we have in Osun State, as we have in Ekiti State.
Efforts to get reactions from Former Governor Fayose on the visit was abortive as the calls ended abruptly. Comrade Odumakin had in a newspaper interview on July 26, 2019, said; “There are so many forces that played one role or the other in the Afenifere polarisation who were not aware of the script. The truth is there was a big agenda to infiltrate Yoruba establishment to weaken it. Putting all together now, Tinubu was the arrowhead of the chartered plot and it was hatched carefully. The Presidential ticket of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in 1999 was the perfect storm.
Tinubu and his group, who worked against Chief Bola Ige, became his supporters when he started his rebellion. The centre could no longer hold for the Yoruba establishment which paved the way for the Tinubu Caliph and a paradigm shift from collegiate leadership to a mafia boss. Even his colleague-Governors in the AD time are now his followers. Former Lagos state Chairman of APC, Chief Henry Ajomale, however, absolved Tinubu of any blame in the events leading to the divisions within the defunct Alliance for Democracy(AD).
“But some of us including Tinubu resisted Afenifere leaders by insisting that imposition is undemocratic and that everybody should be provided a level playing field. We insisted that instead of imposition, candidates or aspirants who signified interest in contesting elections should be made to go through primaries and let the aspirant that has the highest votes emerge as the party’s candidate.
“The situation got so bad that time that Afenifere leaders were asking us to reserve a percentage of elective offices to people from Ganiyu Dawodu’s side. But some of us said no to imposition – this was the genesis of the crisis in AD. So you can see that it was Bucknor-Akerele and some of her godfathers in Afenifere that actually precipitated the crisis in the AD. They were not democrats. If they were democrats, they wouldn’t have come up with the idea of imposition or allocating certain percentage of elective positions to Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu.”