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.”
Buhari’s In-law Quits APC, Cites Impunity, Injustice
Sani Sha’aban, a former governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State and an in-law to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday quit the party.
Sha’aban, whose 17 children bought the N50 million Expression of Interest and the Nomination forms for him to contest the 2023 governorship election, cited impunity and injustice as reasons for dumping the ruling party in the state.
He also added that he decided to dump the party because it has no regard for the rule of law.
The governorship aspirant shortly after the May 2022 primary of the APC in the state, approached the Federal High Court in Kaduna for exclusion from the election where the incumbent Senator representing the Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, was declared the winner.
But the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Garba Umar threw out the case in early November, declaring that the court has no jurisdiction over the matter.
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Sha’aban, however, proceeded to the Court of Appeal where he vowed to pursue the case to a logical conclusion despite leaving the party.
While addressing a press conference through the Director of Sani Mahmoud Sha’aban Campaign Organisation, Mr Joshua Danladi Ephraim, the Governorship aspirant, insisted that he had no business with a party that has no respect for the rule of law.
In the resignation letter dated November 28, 2022, and addressed to the APC Chairman of his ward, Hanwa,
in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of the state continued that recent developments within the party had compelled him to reconsider his membership of the party, adding that with “best efforts, admonition and best intentions, the party has become alienated from the masses.”
When asked about his next political move, he said he would have to consult “those who have to love us of where next to move to.”
Sha’aban in the letter partly said, “Recent activities and events within the APC in Kaduna State, in particular, have compelled me to reconsider my membership of the APC. Despite all our best efforts, admonitions and best intentions, it is disheartening to note that the APC has become more alienated from the masses, and father than foster peace, social cohesion and integration in Kaduna State as we envisaged and worked for, the APC in Kaduna State is now seen as synonymous with hardship, division and with total disregard for human lives, communal and family values.
“Rather than work to bring the dividends of democracy closer to the masses, some few elements in the APC in Kaduna State have hijacked the party structure and turned it into their personal estate to serve their personal greed and avarice, for the benefit of only their families, friends and cronies. They have no regard whatsoever for the feelings, yearnings and sensibilities of even the many members of the Party who supported them, and the general populace of Kaduna State.
“As one who strongly believes in God, and in the belief that the commonwealth of the land is for the common benefit of all, I have found myself unable in good conscience, to sit back and allow this reign of impunity to go on without a voice of dissent. At various times, I have had cause to express my displeasure with the policies and actions of the APC in Kaduna State to you.
“As you are aware, my stance on good governance, Rule of Law, Social Justice and Equity has caused us to be treated with disdain, and to be seen as a Pariah to those who are personally benefitting from the skewed realities present in the APC. My many admonitions, protests, actions and best efforts at salvaging the Party to bring it back into focus to achieve the set objectives of forming the Party have been severally ignored by you. There is, however, a limit to what I can do as a Member of the Party.
“I believe I have in all conscience before God, done my possible best to stave off the inevitable but to no avail. I have come to the firm conclusion and resolve that in all good conscience, I cannot remain a member of the APC under the present state of affairs, where the interest of the majority of common folks is little regarded.
“I cannot remain in a Party that has little or no regard for human lives, social integration, peace and our time-valued and cherished Communal and traditional values. I cannot remain in the APC when the Party has no respect for the Rule of Law and the simplest of the laws of the land.
“Therefore, effective immediately, I officially and formally resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress at all levels.”
Osun LG Polls: OSIEC Withdraws APC Members ‘Certificates Of Return’
The Osun State Independent Electoral Commission has announced the withdrawal of certificates of return given to all elected officials in the October 15 local government election.
The then ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, was the only party that fielded candidates contesting posts of chairmen and councillors at the polls and OSIEC returned all of them elected.
Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, however, in his judgment in a case filed by the PDP against OSIEC, the APC and some of its chairmanship candidates, last Friday, nullified the election sighting noncompliance with the Electoral Act.
In a statement signed by the OSIEC Executive Secretary, Adedapo Adejumo, obtained in Osogbo on Monday, the Commission stated it would not appeal the judgment.
The Commission also admitted it did not comply with the provisions of Section 24 of OSIEC Law, 2022 and Section 28 of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandated it to give a notice of 360 days before the conduct of the election.
The statement further read in part, “Consequent upon the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo in the case FHC\OS\CS\94\2022 involving the PDP VS the Independent National Electoral Commission and six others, delivered on Friday, November 25, 2022, which nullified the local government elections conducted by OSIEC on October 15, 2022, the Commission hereby announces its decision not to appeal the judgement of the Federal High Court, Osogbo.
“The decision of the Commission is coming against the backdrop of OSIEC’s failure to follow strictly the provisions of Section 24 of OSIEC Law, 2022 and Section 28 of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandate the Commission to give a notice of 360 days before the conduct of the election.
“In view of this, OSIEC aligns perfectly with the decision of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, as the elections stand nullified.
“Consequently, the certificates of return already issued to the purportedly elected chairmen and councillors are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.”
JUST IN: Senate President Lawan Loses In Court
The Court of Appeal Abuja on Monday affirmed Bashir Sheriff Machina as the authentic All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.
reports that a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State which held that the President of the senate Ahmad Lawan, is not the APC candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in respect of the 2023 election.
The court had submitted that Lawan did not participate in the legally-recognised primary election of the APC to select its candidate in the election held in May 2022.
Recall that while Lawan, picked the presidential form of the APC and participated in the primary election that was won by former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, Machina contested and won his bid to take over as the candidate of the party for the senatorial contest.
Following his defeat at the presidential primary election, Lawan, allegedly backed by APC heavyweights, asked Machina to relinquish the senatorial ticket to him, a request.
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