*Says suspension of 2 officials won’t stand
By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS—THE leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, yesterday, dissociated himself from the position taken at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State over the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the President-elect, saying that is not the Afenifere way.
He also declared the removal and suspension of two Afenifere officials, Messrs Kole Omololu and Jare Ajayi, null and void.
Fasoranti, in a statement he personally signed, stated that being a law abiding organization, Afenifere could not have asserted that someone, other than the person declared by the body duly authorized by the Constitution and other extant laws of the land, is the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Both Ajayi and Omololu were sacked for allegedly issuing unauthorised statements and constant denigration of the organisation.
But distancing himself from the communiqué by its leader and Secretary General, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Sola Ebiseni respectively after its monthly meeting held at Isanya Ogbo in Ogun State, Fasoranti said: “A General Meeting does not have the power to convene and take such a far-reaching decision just at the whims of individuals.”
The statement reads: “My attention has been drawn to the Communique purportedly issued after a meeting that held on Tuesday, March 27, at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State. This statement is being issued because of the content of the said document.
“Afenifere could not have asserted that someone, other than the person declared by the body duly authorized by the Constitution and other extant laws of the land, is the winner of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 in Nigeria.
“The body mandated to conduct elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, after the completion of this year’s presidential election on February 25th, has declared the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the winner of the said election. Our National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, issued a congratulatory message to the President-elect after he had been issued a Certificate of Return by INEC. “This was cited as an ‘uncouth activity’ by the communiqué mentioned above which further stated that Abagun and Ajayi were ‘suspended sine die pending further decisions after their appearance before and recommendations by the Disciplinary Committee’. It means that the two were pronounced guilty and consequently sanctioned even before their appearance before a Disciplinary Committee.
“That is not the Afenifere way. A General Meeting does not have the power to convene and take such a far-reaching decision just at the whims of individuals. There must have been an official petition laid at the Caucus Meeting, which is referred to the Disciplinary Committee that will investigate and give the officers involved the opportunity to plead their cases.
“Reports and recommendations are then received by the Leaders-in-Council who then take a decision on the Report with The Leader before reverting to the Caucus in communication. This fiat approach as seen in the current situation is alien to our organisation and cannot stand.”
On the presidential election, he said: “This type of position is alien to us in Afenifere which does not conduct itself as an agent of the state let alone as an electoral umpire. We accept the results of the elections at all levels as declared by INEC until otherwise decided by competent courts in the land.
“Presently, the whole world knows that Nigeria has a President-elect in person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a true Yoruba son and nationalist. We in Afenifere not only acknowledge this, we take delight in his in-coming Presidency and are confident that he will, by the grace of God, return Nigeria to the glorious position that all of us will be proud of.
“I also read in the said communiqué, the purported removal and suspension of the National Publicity Secretary and the National Organising Secretary of the organization in persons of Jare Ajayi and Abagun Kole Omololu.
“At no time was any of these officials reported to me as doing anything against what Afenifere stands for or doing anything against the interests of our race, the Yoruba. Thus, at no time was I informed that they were queried, warned or sanctioned for conducting themselves in a manner contrary to what Afenifere or the Yoruba stand for.
“Being an organization that believes in justice and fairness, being an organization that always maintains that those at the helms of affairs should follow the rule of law, Afenifere, our organization, cannot just wake up and pronounce some officials removed and suspended without telling them what their offences are and without giving them the opportunities to defend themselves.
“Such a step is not only against natural justice; it is also in clear defiance of the law of the land. Afenifere believes in the rule of law and in the fundamental rights of all, including right to fair hearing. For these and other reasons, the purported removal and suspension are null and void. The two officials should be commended rather than condemned for the selfless services they are rendering to Afenifere, to the Yoruba race and to Nigeria and humanity. They are hereby so commended.”
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