By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Dayo Johnson
LAGOS—Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, won the support of the apex Yoruba social-cultural body, Afenifere, in his campaign to stop the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking following a visit to Afenifere leader, Pa Rueben Fasaronti, Obasanjo charged Nigerians to look beyond tribe and tongue and do the needful in saving the country from disaster in the forthcoming elections in the country.
Also across the Niger, South-East stakeholders of African Democratic Congress, ADC, also gave a strong commendation to Obasanjo on his insight in using the platform of the party in his bid to stop the return of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to power.
The stakeholders also affirmed that ADC would emerge as the platform for the integration of Ndigbo into the mainstream of the country’s politics.
The former President was accompanied by businessman, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, and Akin Osuntokun, who served as the former President’s aide while he was in office as civilian president.
Obasanjo, who said there was the need to build a consensus ahead of the coming election in the country, told newsmen following the meeting that “Nigerians priority now should be one and if we fail to get it right, it will be disastrous for this country.”
Late Adesanya rejected me thrice —OBJ
On his visit to the Afenifere leadership, the former President recalled how he had visited the leadership of the group some 20 years ago, seeking their support for his presidential ambition but was rejected by the group.
He said: “I remember visiting Pa Abraham Adesanya thrice in Lagos before the election and I was asked to join Afenifere and Alliance for Democracy, AD, then, but I told them that AD was a cul-de-sac.
“Pa Abraham told me if I joined them, things will change but I refused to join them. I went back the second time but they refused to work for my emergence.
“I went there again the third time, but Afenifere maintained their stand, they refused to vote for me, but I secured my votes outside Yorubaland, though they supported me in 2003 for my re-election.”
Obasanjo, however, commended the leadership of the group for being in the forefront of a just and equitable Nigeria.
He noted: “We are now on the same page with the group to save Nigeria from the verge of destruction.
“Afenifere has been talking about the interest of the Yoruba while I have been talking about the general interest of Nigeria.”
Obasanjo spoke in an interview with newsmen after the meeting with the Afenifere chieftains that lasted less than 30 minutes and held behind closed doors.
The former president had tried to rebuff reporters as he insisted that he had the right to visit the Afenifere leader any time he deemed fit.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, Pa Fasoranti said the group was in support for a realignment to kick out the present administration.
Fasoranti, who expressed worries that the country was “at a crossroads” pointed out that “we are tired of all the killings and our President is keeping mute.
“We are in full support of all the letters written by Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation. We are dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country. The country is not being run properly.”
The Yoruba leader, who said Afenifere was in support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and ADC said: “It will be the joy of everybody to present a formidable team to confront the evil government that is there now.”
“Nothing is being done properly in the country presently; look at the killings in the North, the president is very silent about it. We are all Nigerians; if he can keep silent about the killing of his people, that is bad enough.”
Afenifere leaders that were present include Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Chief Sola Ebiseni, Chief Kole Omololu, Chief Femi Aluko, Chief Bakita Bello, Demola Ijabiyi amongst others.
S-East ADC lauds Obasanjo
Meanwhile, South-East stakeholders in the African Democratic Congress, ADC, have commended Obasanjo for his insight in using the platform of the party to mobilise against a second term for Buhari.
Appraising the collapse of Obasanjo’s Coalition of National Movement, CNM, into the ADC, the stakeholders affirmed that the party would be the vehicle for Ndigbo to enter the mainstream of national politics.
A communiqué obtained by Vanguard, following the meeting, last Sunday, also appealed to well-meaning leaders in the country to continue their mentoring of the younger population.
The communiqué was signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu.
It read in part: “It is a known fact that the government of All Progressives Congress, APC, has failed in the core responsibilities of any government as the security and welfare of the people have deteriorated monumentally.
“We are committed to using ADC to bring Ndigbo back to the mainstream and national politics. In this regard, we pledge to work and put in our best effort and resources to colour the South East with ADC.
“We shall use the ADC symbol of a handshake to reach out to every Nigerian to bring back friendship, love, unity of purpose, and use power in our diversity to make Nigeria a model for Africa, investors’ haven, and the darling of the world.
“We remain committed to the avowed vision of the leaders of this country from the North West, North East, North Central, South West, South-South and South East to use ADC and the coming elections as a launch pad to bring in a new generation of leaders into governance concourse of the nation.
“We also appeal to all well-meaning leaders to continue their mentoring and guidance as we journey in our nation-building pathway.”