Leader of the pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, on Monday, restated the organisation’s position to support the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi saying “he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office in 2023.”
He said Afenifere’s decision to support Peter Obi was because power is yet to shift to the South East.
Adebanjo, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, said Afenifere will not compromise its principle of equity, justice and inclusiveness because “one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.”
Justifying the Yoruba body’s position for a South East presidency, he said: “Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the Presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South East.
“After the primaries and the candidates emerge with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South West, APC, Atiku Abubakar on the platform of PDP and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi a candidate of Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba.
“I took my time to explain that the presidency is not a contest between the Yorubas and the Igbos and to a large extent I was able to convince many.
“But ever since social media has been filled with comments tending to ethnicize the campaign instead of making it issue-based.”
Besides, he said: “Afenifere has therefore decided to address you today and through you educate the public on the ideological and equitable principles which have influenced our decision.
“Let me state here for the benefit of those who may not know that Afenifere is the Yoruba interpretation of the social welfarist ideology of Action Group, a political party founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues in 1951 with strong advocacy for federalism as the best form of government to give the federating units the requisite autonomy to thrive and peacefully compete among themselves for the ultimate development of Nigeria.
“The system was eventually agreed to by our founding fathers, Sir Ahmad Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and endorsed by the Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Littleton in 1954 and embodied in the 1960 independence constitution.
“This is the modest contribution of Afenifere in shaping Nigeria into a federation where no person or ethnic nationality is oppressed.
“In the countdown to the 2023 General elections, long before the parties conducted their Conventions to elect their National Executives and candidates, we had insisted and still advocate restructuring before the elections proposing a synthesis of the identical Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee. We did this as Afenifere and on the wider spectrum of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF.
“We did this, when politicians, in spite of the monumental crises confronting the nation, carried on as if the attainment of power was all that mattered, the SMBLF unanimously proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the disastrous 8 years of Buhari’s government headed by a President of northern extraction was to have the next President from the South.
“This position was also supported by all the southern governors, irrespective of their political parties at a meeting held in Asaba, Delta State.
“Incidentally, this North/South consideration which is at the very root of our amalgamated federation is also the most important testament of all political parties in Nigeria. The principle of federal character enshrined in the constitution dictates that the government of the federation or any part thereof shall not be concentrated in any ethnic group or a combination of such groups.
“It is, therefore, preposterous to adopt this principle for employment in public service admissions in educational institutions, political appointment, the composition of the executive committee of a political party only to jettison it in the most important question of rulership of the federation.
“In this quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of Chief Obasanjo, the current Vice President is a Yoruba man and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023. The current President is a Fulani from the Northwest and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently.
“The southwest as I have pointed out has produced a president and currently sits as VP, the South-South has spent a total of 6 years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.
“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic.
“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back, he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.
“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.
“It is on this same principle, we condemn the PDP for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim who will soon complete 8 years of uneventful and disastrous rule. One can imagine such a high degree of political insensitivity.
“On our part, we are certainly not alien to sacrificing personal interests in the quest for a National coalition to put Nigeria on the proper pedestal.
“In this regard, the starting point is Southern solidarity for which we first enacted a handshake across the Niger, which had dovetailed to the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum. We enjoin the labour movement, students, youth organisations, women associations, and every institution whose foundation is built on fairness and justice to join hands in this task of enthroning a democratic government by supporting Peter Obi. If we are sincere and honest about keeping Nigeria together in peace, the slogan henceforth should be
“To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi/Datti compliant.”
“In the final analysis, let it be said that we have no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only prosper in righteousness.
“For me, in the twilight of my sojourn on earth at 94, it is too late to derail me on the track of true federalism and National inclusiveness on which I have travelled for over 70 years of my life as one of the few surviving initial prophets, I prefer to ascend on a chariot of fire, fueled by justice and equity.”
Adebanjo further said, “he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office in 2023.”
He said Afenifere’s decision to support Peter Obi was because power is yet to shift to the South East.
Adebanjo said Afenifere will not compromise its principle of equity, justice and inclusiveness because “one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate.”
Edo 2024: I’m Passionate About Developing Edo – Prof. Osunbor
A former governor of Edo State and an aspirant in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, has disclosed his resolve to return to the state government house to complete his mission and contribute to the state development.
Osunbor made his intention known in Benin, Tuesday, when he paid homage to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, and also seek for the Monarch’s prayers and support in his endeavour.
Professor Osunbor recalled that he was the governor of the state for a short period “so it is my desire to come back and complete my mission and also to contribute in my own way to assist Your Royal Majesty in developing our state to a very enviable level.
“To a level beyond what it is now. I know it is in the interest of Your Royal Majesty that whoever is coming to govern the state should be somebody who has the interest of the state and is prepared to do what is required to be able to elevate Edo State to an enviable level.”
Prof. Osunbor disclosed that he is imbued with traits of excellence and that his slogan while campaigning to govern the state in 2007 was ‘Edo for Excellence’.
He asserted that within the short period of his stay in office he exhibited excellence in governance.
Going further into his background he disclosed that he scored a first class in his Law programme the first Nigerian to achieve that feat at the University of Nigeria.
“I proceeded to the Law School and emerged as the best student in the Nigeria Bar examination in 1976. Without doing a Masters I proceeded to do a Ph.D and in three years completed my Ph.D and started lecturing. In just eight years I applied for a position of Professor and I was appointed a Professor with just eight years teaching experience. This is very rare,” Professor Osunbor submitted.
He recalled that in his days as governor he initiated a very successful students bursary scheme and ensured that pensioners were paid their pension arrears while ensuring that none of them was owed.
Receiving Professor Osunbor and his entourage of All Progressives Congress (APC) bigwigs, Omo N’Oba stated that the capability of the ex-governor was never in doubt. The monarch went down memory lane to recall how his guest then a Senator went the extra length to make him comfortable during the process of his screening in the Senate chambers as an ambassador designate.
He promised him that a prayer team with be made to always put him in prayers so that he would be free from any harm and can achieve his heart desires.
INEC Fixes Dates For Edo, Ondo Guber Elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has fixed September 21 next year for the governorship election in Edo State, and November 16 for that of Ondo State.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, disclosed in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He explained that the tenure of the governors of Edo and Ondo states will end on November 11, 2024 and February 23, 2025, respectively.
Olumekun said as provided in Section 178 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), election into the said offices shall be held not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the tenure of` the last holder of the office.
According to him, the latest date for election to the office of governor, Edo State, is 12th October 2024, while that of Ondo State is 24th January 2025.
Similarly, Section 28(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 requires the Commission to publish Notice for the Election not later than 360 days before the date of the election.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Commission issues the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Edo and Ondo State Governorship elections as follows:
“The governorship election will hold on Saturday 21st September 2024.
“Party primaries will hold from 1st – 24th February 2024 while the submission of the list of nominated candidates via the online portal will start at 9a.m. on 4th March 2024 and close at 6pm on 24th March 2024.
“The final list of candidates will be published on 23rd April 2024, while campaign in public by political parties commences on 24th April 2024 and ends 24 hours prior to election day on 19th September 2024.
“The governorship election will hold on Saturday 16th November 2024.
“Party primaries will hold from 6th – 27th April 2024 while the submission of the list of nominated candidates via the online portal will start at 9.00am on 29th April 2024 and close at 6p.m. on 20th May 2024.
“The final list of candidates will be published on 18th June 2024, while campaign in public by political parties commences on 19th June 2024 and ends 24 hours prior to election day on 14th November 2024.
“The detailed timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections have been uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
“By this ample notice as required by both the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Commission appeals to political parties and candidates to note the activities in the timetable for strict compliance,” he added.
Impeachment: ‘My Life Under Threat’ — Ondo Speaker Cries Out Over ‘Juju’ Scare At Residence
The Speaker of the Ondo state House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, has raised the alarm that his life is under threat over the impeachment notice served to the deputy governor of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, over alleged gross misconduct.
Oladiji raised the alarm in Akure after some fetish objects were dumped in front of the gate of his residence, at midnight on Sunday
The fetish objects were dumped at the gate of the Speaker’s lodge, ahead of the plenary to commence the impeachment of the deputy governor, tomorrow ( Tuesday)
This development created apprehension in the state, as residents discuss it in hushed tones.
Following the scary development, the speaker, has called on the security agencies to save his soul and that of other members of the House following threats to their lives since the commencement of the impeachment process against the State’s Deputy Governor,
According to him, “Early this morning, his attention was drawn together a ritual sacrifice placed In front of his official lodge.”
The lodge which “requires renovation is only used sometimes for Parliamentary meetings.
“I have not been using the place except sometimes for parliamentary meetings. At least, we have been there for more than two times for meeting but I don’t sleep there because the place requires overhauling with its present state.
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“Early this morning, we discovered that a sacrifice was placed in the lodge. Aside that, I have been receiving strange calls from strange people threatening my life and other members. There have been a lot of pressure on me.
“I am using the medium to tell the world that my life is under threat. I call on the security operatives to checkmate these people who have been threatening my life and other members.
“This threat started since the day we began the impeachment notice . I have already reported to NSCDC among others security agencies”
The Speaker, also debunked the rumour that the lawmakers collected N5 million to initiate the impeachment process
Oladiji said that the 10th Assembly under his watch will not compromise on such sensitive matter.
“Whenever there is an impeachment case like this, people think that the executive must have lured the legislature to begin the process.
” I want to tell the whole world that we did not receive any gratification from anybody or anywhere. We are doing our work as lawmakers
“We appropriate and at the same time, monitor what we appropriate. Let me tell you, 26 lawmakers have now signed the letter which we will serve the deputy governor today”
“The House will today serve the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa a letter on the alleged gross misconduct.”
The Speaker noted that the House was unable to serve the Deputy Governor the Notice since the commencement of the process last week.
He, however, said that the house has now secured court affidavit which gives the house a legitimate right to serve the Deputy Governor.
According to him “all the 26 lawmakers have appended their signature on the petition. The Deputy Governor is expected to reply the house within seven days of notice.”
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