*Action a demonstration of unparalleled patriotism, it says
By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
A coalition of South East groups has commended the apex Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, over the unprecedented endorsement of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, as the preferred choice of the Oduduwa race for the 2023 presidential election.
In a move that has continued to receive local and international commendations, the Pa Ayo Adebanjo-led Afenifere declared total support for the former Governor of Anambra State, insisting that only a South East Presidency in 2023 will guarantee the unity, stability, and oneness of the Nigerian State.
At a world press conference in Lagos on Monday, Pa Adebanjo explained that the pan-Yoruba socio-political group’s decision was borne out of the need for justice, equity, and fair play.
The nonagenarian, who led other senior Yoruba leaders to the briefing, regretted that the South East was the only geo-political entity that was yet to produce a President, hence the need for all well-meaning Nigerians to support Obi, in a bid to usher in a New Nigeria.
“In this quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of Chief (Olusegun) Obasanjo, the current Vice President is a Yoruba man and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023.
“The current President is a Fulani from the North-West and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently.
“The South-West, as I have pointed out, has produced a president and currently seat as VP, the South-South has spent a total of six years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.
“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalise and excluded them from the power dynamics”, Adebanjo stated.
He, therefore, condemned the Frontline parties for not considering the South East in their equation, saying: ‘A Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari, another Fulani Muslim, who will soon complete eight years of uneventful and disastrous rule. One can imagine such a high degree of political insensitivity”.
In a spontaneous reaction, the Coalition of South-East Professional Network in Nigeria and Diaspora (CSEPNND), thanked Afenifere for her consistency, saying Ndigbo will never be ungrateful for the bold and courageous position which, it noted, aligned with common sense and valued judgement
The coalition made the disclosures in a statement, Tuesday, by its National President Prof Chika Madumere
“We, are overjoyed by the open endorsement of our illustrious son and candidate of the Labour Party (LP), for the 2023 Presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, by a foremost socio-political organisation, Afenifere.
“The endorsement did not come to the Coalition of South-East Professional Network in Nigeria and Diaspora as a surprise, considering the consistency of Afenifere on issues of equity, justice, fair play, restructuring, devolution of power, among other nation-building efforts.
“We make bold to say that, when the history of a New Nigeria is written, Afenifere and the entire yoruba nation will occupy a pride of place, for refusing to maintain silence in the face of injustice, exclusion, and tortuous alienation”, the group said.
It continued: “About forty seven years after the much-touted “no-victor-no-vanquished declaration, the South East has continued to suffer alienation, exclusion, and relegation.
“This is despite Ndigbo’s visible commitment to a unified, prosperous, and progressive nation, considered blessed with human and material resources.
“While commending Afenifere, today led by the fearless Pa Adebanjo, we appeal to Nigerians, especially the voting population, to keep a date with history, by queueing behind the LP presidential candidate in next year’s poll”.