Fasoranti to Adebanjo: Afenifere recognizes Tinubu not Obi as President-elect

Leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, on Wednesday disagreed with the acting leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo over who won the February 25 presidential election in the country.

Fasoranti, in a statement to counter the communique issued on Tuesday, March 27, at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State, the home town of Chief Adebanjo, said Afenifere recognizes Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect.

According to him, 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 presidential election.

In their communique, the Isanya Ogbo meeting had said that Peter Obi of the Labour Party won the presidential election, going by reports available to them.

The communique also announced the removal and suspension of two officials of the organization, National Organising Secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu and National Publicity Secretary Comrade Jare Ajayi for allegedly issuing a statement condemning the Chairman of Elders Forum of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Chief Emmanuel Iwunanyawu who called Yoruba “political rascals” at an event markingGovernor Chukwuma Soludo’s one year in office in Awka, Anambra State at the weekend.

Pa Fasoranti said suspending the duo without due process was not the way of Afenifere as they were purportedly found guilty without trial.

Text of Pa Fasoranti’s statement:

“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. Section 2.02 of the document claims that “the results of the lawful votes at the Presidential election available to the Afenifere through credible sources confirm that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, won the said election”. 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 Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the winner of the said election. Our National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Comrade 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 Communique 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’. Meaning 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 assertion that someone else other than the person declared by INEC as winner of the presidential election. 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 Ahmed 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.

Tinubu is a focused, highly disciplined person who is very adept in organization and in administering people. Based on his antecedent, we have no doubt at all that under his leadership, Nigeria will breathe a new lease of life that will soon make her one of the nations of the world that are respected and admired. The whole world is aware that I personally blessed and anointed Ahmed Bola Tinubu on October 30, 2022 in the presence of notable people from all parts of Yorubaland right here in my place in Akure. How can we then turn round and condemn the election of such a person? We never did so.

I also read in the said Communique, the purported removal and suspension of the National Publicity Secretary and the National Organising Secretary of the organization in persons of Comrade 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.

I seize this opportunity to congratulate the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on his 71st birthday and to wish him many more years, nay decades, in good health and more meritorious service to our land and to humanity.

I called on all our people to co-operate with the Buhari administration for its remaining period so that we can have a smooth transition on May 29, this year. Such co-operation should be extended to the in-coming administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Thank you.

Chief R. F. Fasoranti, OFR

The Leader, Afenifere

Wednesday, March 28, 2023.

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