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2023: Adebanjo Absent As Afenifere Leaders, Makinde Endorse Tinubu For President

The presidential ambition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, received a boost on Sunday, as leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, endorsed him.

Their position was made known on Sunday, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Tinubu, met with the leaders of Afenifere in Ondo State, to unveil his ‘Action Plan’.

The meeting was hosted by the former leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasonrati in his hometown. 

Pa. Ayo Adebanjo, the current leader of Afenifere, was absent from the meeting.

Other Afenifere leaders at the meeting included retired Methodist Bishop, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; Chief Pius Akinyelure, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, retired Generals Alani Akinrinade and Olu Bajowa.

Other Yoruba nationals were Olu Falae, Bisi Akande, Cornelius Adebayo, governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji; deputy governor of Ondo state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa; former minister, Musiliu Obanikoro and others

The Oyo Governor was however represented in the meeting by his Deputy, Bayo Lawal.

Reiterating his support for Tinubu, Lawal said, “Since Makinde became governor, he doesn’t joke with anything that concerns the Yoruba people, whenever baba (Pa Fasoranti) calls him, he is always available.

“Whenever there is an event, either organized by Afenifere or any other Yoruba group, Gov Makinde will always be supportive. Though we are not of the same political affiliation, we are bound by ethnicity”.

“The message he sent me to deliver here is that, whatever you are doing in Yorubaland, Makinde, Oyo people are in support of it.”

After ending his speech at the event, Lawal sang a song Yoruba song, “…Asiwaju ni wa, Asiwaju ni wa”, which literally means “We are the one who leads” and the same song can be interpreted as a pledge to Tinubu (Asiwaju).

Makinde, alongside Governor Wike of Rivers State and a few others, have been at loggerheads with Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), over the leadership of the party, insisting the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, must resign.

Meanwhile, cracks in Afenifere widened on Sunday, following the endorsement of Tinubu’s Presidential bid by Pa. Fasoranti.

The elder Statesman on Sunday, blessed Tinubu and endorsed his candidacy, contrary to Ayo Adebanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the 2023 elections.

Fasoranti, 96, stepped down in 2021 for Adebanjo, after expressing concerns about his ability to continue leading the group.

Until now, both leaders have played mutual roles in the party’s internal affairs and political direction for the Yoruba.

Chief Adebanjo had announced the support of Afenifere to back Obi’s Presidency.

Adebanjo, who explained his reasons for supporting Obi, had attributed it to the principle of equity and federal character.

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