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Obi’s endorsement well debated: Afenifere to Akeredolu

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization Afenifere has reaffirmed its support for Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate, in the upcoming 2023 presidential election.

The group said neither Afenifere nor Akeredolu will speak for Yoruba people on the candidate to support in response to a statement attributed to the governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, that the “Afenifere doesn’t speak for the Yoruba people on the endorsement of Peter Obi and that Afenifere is divided in respect to the purported endorsement.”

This was said in a statement made on Monday by Chief Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General of Afenifere.

The association claimed in the statement that members of the group and a few sociocultural organizations in the nation collectively decided to support Obi.
“The attention of Afenifere has been attracted tothe statementcredited to Akeredolu on the Afenifere’s endorsement of Obi forthe 2023 presidential election,” the statement said in part.
First and foremost, we would like to reiterate the Afenifere’s principled position that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South, and fairly speaking, from the South-East. For this position, we believe that Obi is the most qualified and suitable candidate due to his verifiable records as a two-term governor of Anambra State. It is a well-considered corporate decision that has been validly communicated in the best tradition of the organization after being discussed for over a year at regular monthly meetings.

“While we respect Akeredolu and his fellow Southern Governors Forum members for their stance that it is only fair that the next President of Nigeria, following eight years of Buhari of Northern Nigerian descent, come from the South, we will not lend our support to those who compromise that cause for the money of vice presidential porridge or those who only see equity through the narrow lens of their ethnic advantages.

“We wish to reiterate for the nth time that Afenifere is not an apolitical Yoruba socio-cultural organization but, from its inception, political machinery as the embodiment of the Awolowo School of Thought on how Nigeria, a nation of old and entrenched nationalities, may be best governed fairly, inclusively, and peacefully. The theory and application of true federalism in its fair and rational dimensions encapsulates these ideas.

Last but not least, let it be noted that Afenifere is not the only one who believes that the next President should come from the South, and more especially the South-East. A press conference on September 26, 2022, and the Middle Belt Forum, which met in the Jos Township Stadium on September 28, were the means by which Afenifere expressed its resolution. This resolution, which the country most urgently needs for an inclusive sense of belonging and the ensuing peaceful cohabitation, has the support of various ethnic nationalities organizations, especially of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, of which Afenifere is a member.

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