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Fasoranti backs Tinubu as Adebanjo insists on Obi

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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.

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 insists

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.”

Tinubu excited

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.

“The North proved to me that Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone but the President said no. He insisted the process must go on democratically. The president said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes. He remained upright and saw the process to the end.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end. The battle was tough and at a point, I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused about what to believe.”

Speaking further, Tinubu said he enjoyed the support of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), who had affirmed his full support to make sure he( Tinubu) wins the election,

“President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President.

“When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whomever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in times of trouble in his state,” he stated.

“The North proved to me that Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone but the President said no. He insisted the process must go on democratically. The president said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes. He remained upright and saw the process to the end.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end. The battle was tough and at a point, I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused about what to believe.”

Speaking further, Tinubu said he enjoyed the support of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), who had affirmed his full support to make sure he( Tinubu) wins the election,

“President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President.

“When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whomever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in times of trouble in his state,” he stated.

Falae speaks

An Afenifere chieftain and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, urged Tinubu to fix the economy of the country if elected.

Falae, who decried the falling value of the naira, said he used all his life to serve Nigeria and in his old age, he does not want all he used his life for to be wasted.

He charged, “You have a lot of work to do, Nigeria has been turned down, I used to go to Lagos without any fear at the age of 14. You have to look into the issue of insecurity.

“They want to change currency it would have much pressure on naira because the election is nearer. Financial matters should be looked into, how you will do it, God will guide you. We will be available to advise you if you get there.

“When you become President please work to fix this country. We are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for a job. We need to fix security and fix our economy. Our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1, 000 to a dollar. We must change that. I know your ability. We will always be here to support and I wish you well. We will be here when you bring the trophy home by the grace of God.”

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