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2023: Afenifere goofed, can’t decide for South-West – Sowore

The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has reacted to the endorsement of some presidential candidates by the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.

Sowore said both the ‘teams A and B’ of the group goofed, as “they can not decide for the South-West.”

This is coming on the heels of another purported endorsement of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, by the founding father and a leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on Sunday, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Tinubu received the endorsement during a meeting he had with the leaders of the organisation at Fasoranti’s residence in Akure.

Some members of the group, including Pa Ayo Adebanjo, and the Secretary-General Chief Sola Ebiseni, were however absent at the meeting.

Reacting on Monday, Sowore said, “Afenifere TEAM ‘A’ & Afenifere ‘B’ ought to know they goofed, they can’t sit in their living rooms and endorse candidates on behalf of South-West, they are too fiercely independent to fall for these crooked endorsements. They’ll always vote their conscience!”

It was reported that Afenifere, led by its current leader, Adebanjo, had earlier endorsed the candidacy of Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

Adebanjo, therefore reacted to the purported endorsement of Tinubu, saying the position of the group backing Obi had not changed.

Adebanjo, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, said he was not supposed to be at the meeting in Akure, adding that his support for Obi was already known.

He said, “In the first place, I was not supposed to be there. In the second place, we have made our position clear. Pa Fasoranti asked me if I was coming, I said if he asked me to come. But tell him what the position of Afenifere is. Once he has done that, I’m not going into any controversy about that.

“Afenifere has taken a stance to support Obi. Any other splinter or rebel group… I’m not going into any controversy about that. I regard that as a diversion. What we are going to do now is see that we succeed at the election.”

Fasoranti, who briefly prayed for the APC candidate, simply declared, “Tinubu will win the election.”

In attendance at the meeting were former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Retired Methodist Bishop, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; National Secretary of APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore; General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, Senator Cornelius Adebayo; former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande; and Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Bayo Lawal, who represented Governor Seyi Makinde.

Omololu explained that Tinubu briefed the gathering about his aspiration for the presidency and also presented his manifesto to Fasoranti.

But Omololu said the Afenifere leaders did not hesitate to endorse the former Lagos State governor after he proved beyond doubt that he would practise true federalism by giving states more control over internal affairs when elected.

His statement partly read, “Tinubu shared with us his vision of a greater and more prosperous Nigeria where democratic rights, rule of law, justice and fairness will reign supreme. He also gave assurance on steps to be taken to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians and their properties.

“We support the decision of all qualified citizens to exercise their fundamental rights of seeking offices provided by the federal Constitution.

“Having taken cognisance of his commendable antecedents as Lagos State Governor and his demonstrated ability in building physical and human capital, the Yoruba leaders at today’s meeting are in no doubt that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, offers the best opportunity to produce a government that will usher in a new era of hope, peace, security, harmony, gainful employment for the multitude, economic development, social and political stability.

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