By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ADO-EKITI—A factional leader of the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Senator Ayo Fasanmi and an elder statesman and historian, Prof Banji Akintoye, yesterday, urged Yoruba people to brace up for the presidency in 2023.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti at a colloquium marking the 110th posthumous birthday of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Afenifere leader said Yoruba people must unite to ensure that the geopolitical zone produce the next president.
The 94-year old Fasanmi, who made a request that Yoruba people should support a candidate who shares the visions of Awolowo, publicly endorsed Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State as a possible candidate for the 2023 presidency saying “Fayemi embodies the visions that Awolowo strived to actualize for Nigerians.”
Delivering a paper titled ‘New Engagements by Progressives’, Prof. Akintoye said Ekiti people could become leaders in the African continent by “investing in the knowledge economy using our education advantage.”
Akintoye, who recalled the huge investment of Awolowo on education stated that “the progressives’ idea is the only way to make the people prosper”; adding that Fayemi has the right ideas which are similar to Awo’s.
While stating that the 2023 presidency is not just about pushing for a Yoruba man, the professor of History said it was high time Ekiti people rose up and take the lead because Nigeria needs the values of hard work, excellence and integrity which Ekiti people are known for.
Akintoye equally called on Governor Fayemi to rise to the task ahead; stressing that Ekiti people must not let themselves “be intimidated by what exists” but push for “what is right”.
He said: “Decent people of Ekiti should take the lead and help reposition the nation. I want to say that in 2023, we Ekiti want to aspire for what we have never aspired for. We want to produce the next president of Nigeria. We know that it takes the Ekiti character to rebuild Nigeria. Kayode (Fayemi) has the right ideas. He knows what to do in the management of our affairs.
“We must have the tenacity to push for what we think is right. We should not let ourselves be intimidated by what exists.”
We’ve not seen any statesman like Awo—Fayemi
In his remarks, Governor Fayemi said it was time Nigerians raised the standard of development above that which was laid by Awolowo; saying that the former Premier had been the yardstick for measuring the political success of political leaders in decades.
The governor said: “We have competence; we have human resources and everything that can help us survive as a nation. That was what Chief Awolowo represents today. In Nigeria, we have not seen any statesman like Awolowo.”