The leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, and several South West leaders on Sunday endorsed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Telescope.ng reports that Tinubu received their endorsement during a meeting he had with the leaders of the organisation at Fasoranti’s residence in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Some members of the group, including Pa Ayo Adebanjo, and the Secretary-General Chief Sola Ebiseni, were however absent at the meeting.
Adebanjo had earlier declared support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
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.”
The organisation’s National Organising Secretary, Abagun Omololu, also issued a statement at the end of the meeting.
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.
“We have also been assured of his commitment to the promotion of true federalism that will give states more control over their affairs. Afenifere wishes him success in the pursuit of his vision.”
Reacting to his endorsement, Tinubu applauded the group saying the struggle he encountered before clinching the APC ticket was a constant reminder of why he cannot afford to let the country down.
He said, “I thank God almighty that the dream of that time has come to reality. The battle was much. Many of them wanted Buhari to anoint another person but he (Buhari) said no. Some of the Northern governors came together and resolved that it (power) has to go to the south.
“One certain thing is that no Yoruba men and women opposed this ticket. They support this ticket. I want to tell you that I will bring the trophy home. It is not just a Yoruba thing. It is a Nigeria project.