*Declares Atiku backers as renegades, usurpers
By Akeem Abas/Ibadan
Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, has endorsed the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the 2019 Presidential election.
The group announced the endorsement through its spokesperson, Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae, after a meeting of delegates and elders from the six Southwest states held on Thursday at the House of Chiefs, Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group, which was led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, included former governor of Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Dr Abayomi Finnih, Chief Adeleke Adewoyin and Prince Biodun Ogunleye.
The meeting, which lasted four hours, resolved that any other group not with the Yorubas on the decision and choice were usurpers as well as renegades.
The group noted that Afenifere, as started by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, was known for being progressive.
“We have decided to host the whole Yorubaland in Ibadan on January 29, 2019. It is to proclaim the support of the Yorubaland for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
“It is also to tell the whole world that Afenifere created by Baba Awolowo before his death is still intact as a progressive movement and any Afenifere person who is not in the progressive is not part of us.
“We are now telling the Yoruba people and the whole world that we are going to support President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo come 2019 Presidential election,” the group said.
It said they were supporting Buhari inspite of the economic challenges which was a collective issue, adding that the economy, which had been bastardized for years, is growing under Buhari.
The group affirmed that Buhari was trying his best, saying the economy and GDP is growing.
According to the group, “look at the programmes for the youths and the children through empowerment and school feeding programmes in schools across the country.
“26 states are already in the programme and many other states are happy with it.
So, Buhari is trying his best and the best is yet to come, that is why we are asking people to vote for him, particularly in Yoruba land come 2019 Presidential election.”
It described the factional group which threw its weight behind another presidential candidate as usurpers, adding that the Afenifere they know in Yorubaland is a progressive movement.
The group said that the factional Afenifere group, led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, which threw its weight behind former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, was not part of them, but usurpers.
“Yoruba is not divided, there are not so many Afeniferes. Yoruba is a nation and even during the time of Baba Awolowo, there were dissent voices, so we are not embarrassed.
“Our group is led by the longest living senator in Nigeria, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, and you can see everybody there including Sen. Biyi Durojaiye, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, Baba Olusi and many others in Yorubaland who are not renegades with us.
“There was no time Afenifere has not been a socio-political organization. It is a socio-cultural and political organization and that is just the full name of Afenifere.
“Let me again say that the owner of the mandate of the Yoruba people is APC. The six governors of Yorubaland are APC, all houses of Assembly in Yorubaland are APC, so we have six speakers of houses of assemblies, so you can imagine.
“Those who claim to be in the other group of Afenifere, none of them have ever contested an election. The fact is there for all to see. So, they don’t have any mandate.
“It is our Afenifere that we are talking here that has the mandate of the Yoruba people and you will see them here on the day.
“By January 29, they will all be here including the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to declare support for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election,” the group added.
Afenifere decried the jeering of Buhari by lawmakers during Wednesday’s budget presentation, saluting Buhari for not being deterred and concluding his presentation.
Among others who attended were a former Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Pa Ayo Afolabi, Mr Oladosu Oladipo, Mr Muyiwa Ige, Prof. Adebanjo Ademodi, Mr Tokunbo Ajasin and Mr Awa Bamiji.
NAN reports that Oyo State Government was represented by Dr Morounkola Thomas, the Executive Assistant on Political Matters to Gov. Abiola Ajimobi.