By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Pan Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere, on Thursday described its insistence that power returns to the South and specifically to the South East, as a clarion call for equity, inclusiveness and respect for the abiding covenant of the national engagement.
The group, said its position on the 2023 presidential election, was informed by the fact that other parts of the Southern Nigeria, had taken their shots, at the presidency.
The position of Afenifere, was re-emphasised by the former Secretary General of the group, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee on the 2014 National Conference, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, in a statement entitled “The Imperative of Nigerian President from South East Extraction”
Okunrounmu, who highlighted some of the recommendations of the 2014 CONFAB, said the issue of federal character and power rotation, was paramount.
He said “the government of Goodluck Jonathan constituted the 2014 National Conference which I had the privilege of being appointed as Chairman of its Presidential Advisory Committee and a delegate.
“The resolutions at the 2014 CONFAB have since become the new testament of our national political engagement.
One of the fundamental gains from the Conference which derived from earlier conferences under Abacha and Obasanjo, was the rotation of the office of the President between the North and South and amongst the constituent six geo-political zones.
“While the military imposed 1999 Constitution, has made itself not amenable in its fundamental essence, the rotational principle has become the binding convention which can only be breached at the health of the federation.”
On the rotational presidency, Okunrounmu specifically, said the South West and South-South had taken their turns through Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, respectively.
He said, “Thus those who delinquently run their mouths against Ayo Adebanjo, Leader of Afenifere for expressing in the strongest terms that the denial of the South East its legitimate turn may sound the death knell of the federation are only being hypocritical or in the uneasy foreboding of losing unmerited privileges in the Nigeria contraption.
“Let it be said that no argument of democracy based on the flawed Nigerian demographic statistics will make a Northerner succeeding Buhari see the light of the day nor will an enactment of Fulani/Yoruba rotation of power through the 2023 election peacefully come to pass. Those who gleefully share the nation’s resources on the basis of federal character cannot hypocritically seek to jettison the principle in the access to the Presidency of Nigeria without dire consequences for its continued corporate existence.
“The endorsement of a Nigerian president of South East origin and Peter Obi’s candidacy by well meaning groups and leaders across the federation is premised on the understanding that there lies the path to justice, peace and survival of the federation. It is a task that must be done.”
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