Politics: No candidate adopted by the Chief Ayo Adebanjo faction of Afenifere has ever won a presidential election Daily Parrot

Ayo Adebanjo

The highly regarded Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a control freak, now has in his hands, the Afenifere he has always craved; the one he could carve in his own image, control and direct. You doubt this, look round those surrounding him, and ask yourself how representative of Yoruba states they are.  And for an encompassing history of Afenifere, and how much some people had wanted it to be under their grip, I urge the reader to please get any of the following books: Clapping with one hand: June 12 and the crisis of a state nation and The open grave: Nadeco and the struggle for Democracy in Nigeria, both authored by Hon Olawale Oshun,   Chairman of  the Afenifere Renewal Group ( ARG).

Equally, always wanting to be more catholic than the Pope, Chief Adebanjo this past week, rail -roaded his Afenifere faction to a Press Conference where he announced their endorsement of  Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour party.

This was at a time when Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said “It will be childish” to do so.  If Ohanaeze would not endorse Obi, isn’t this Afenifere faction logically being childish?

This, of course, is not the first time Chief Adebanjo is backing a political party, and a people who, historically, did everything to hamstring the presidential ambition of Chief Obafemi Awolowo – Adebanjo’s sole route to political fame – even though he is forever talking of his unmatchable closeness to the Avatar. Not even when the husband of Awo’s grand daughter was on a ticket did Chief Adebanjo feel reluctant to work against a party that is largely supported by Yorubas. He calls it principles, but I call it ETANU.

Much about that later.

In 2015, he tied his faction to the apron strings of candidate Goodluck Jonathan because he said the man would restructure Nigeria,  exactly what he is saying of Peter Obi today even though nobodu can quote the Labour party candidate on restructuring.

But what did Professor Bolaji Akinyemi say recently about President Jonathan and Chief Adebanjo’s promise?

Hear him:

“But when he (Jonathan) then lost courage, we divided the result (of the 2014 confab) into three quadrants; one of which needed executive approval. All he needed was to sign it, but he didn’t. I then met him and asked him to implement his own part, and he said, ‘Oh, I am coming back to the office. When we get in, we will do so”. “And I said, ‘Sir, you’re not God. It’s only God who decides who sits on that chair. He only took it to the National Assembly when he lost the election. And of course, the National Assembly would not sign a document by a president who had lost an election”.

Of course, not even that calamity would mollify Chief Adebanjo who believed he could do whatever with Afenifere.

It was to Atiku Abubakar he next carried it.  Meanwhile, here was an Atiku who never had the nerve to canvass restructuring anywhere in  Northern Nigeria, and had, apart from boasting he has three Igbo daughters, twice chosen Igbo running mates thereby, unequivocally, demonstrating his love for Ndigbo over and above the Yoruba. But not even that too meant a thing to Chief Adebanjo as long as he can oppose whichever party majority Yoruba were rooting for.

But trust him to say he was acting on principles.

Ask me what advantage Yorubas ever derived from his political exertions, and I’ll say he got for us, from President Jonathan, a tokenist appointment – a literally meaningless, as at the time – Chief of staff which went to  Gen Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa (Rtd) who was by no means half as effective as the president President Jonathan’s kinsman,  and  Special Assistant on Domestic Matters, Waripamowei Dudafa.

If to play the lackey to President Jonathan in 2015, Afenifere engaged the candidate at a meeting in Akure, what exactly has Chief Adebanjo, acting alone, discussed with  Peter Obi, this time around, concerning Yorubas ahead the 2023 election, in a putative government Yoruba will be completely absent in its leadership cadre? I guess it is enough that it is Chief  Adebanjo taking Yoruba to the promised land via  their new OHANIFERE, handing them  over to our Igbo bretheren just like Col Emeka Ojukwu asked of Col Banjo when he would have conquered the West with the help of biafran soldiers.

What, indeed, can be better?

It is called acting on principles, and the presidency would be handed to Ndigbo on a platter, even if the people are, themselves, prepared to compete.

Fortunately, however, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa,  the Secretary General of Afenifere, in a 2019 interview, tells us below exactly how Afenifere’s endorsement  of a candidate should  proceed: Question: What is the position of Afenifere on the quality, credibility and capability of the current presidential aspirants?

“We are still watching the aspirants, but one thing is imperative for whoever we are going to adopt. Such a person must not just talk about restructuring but he must be prepared to do the restructuring in a way different from the 1999 constitution. We are also looking at the characters of the aspirants because we don’t want to be deceived again…”

So where, or at what point, did Chief Adebanjo get from Peter Obi, the guarantees for which he has literally, single handedly endorsed his candidacy as a “one leader, and a hundred followers’ diktat? Can he quote Obi’s views on restructuring for Nigerians to see? What are Obi’s views on the 1999 constitution? In case chief Adebanjo is unaware, here it is – quoting Obi in a television interview:” The(1999) constitution might have its own problems but our constitution is not what is keeping us where we are today, it is bad leadership. Not withstanding the constitution, you can drive everybody along and still make the country productive”.

Read Also: Over to you, Chief Adebanjo

Pray, does that look, anywhere, like Chief Adebanjo’s views on the 1999 constitution which he has severally described as: ”fraudulent; did not articulate the collective will of the Nigerian people, having been imposed on the nation by the military”?

Also, in contradistinction to Chief Adebanjo’s endorsement, and somewhat, allying with Chief Arogbofa, let us see the processes Chief Olu Falae, whose cause Chief Adebanjo championed at the infamous ‘De Rovans’ debacle orchestrated by the Afenifere Control Group, said an endorsement  should go through. Speaking through CAPT M. A. RAJI(rtd), his personal Assistant, while  denying that he has, or was one of those who claim to have endorsed Peter Obi, declared as follows:”The attention of Chief

Olu Falae CFR, GCON has just been drawn to a publication that has gone viral in which the former Secretary to the Federal government is quoted as saying that he is supporting the candidature of Mr Peter Obi as his preferred choice in the 2023 Presidential race. Although, Chief Falae admitted that he said that it was true that the South East has not had the opportunity of being Nigeria’s President, it is for them to persuade other Nigerians that they can offer something better than candidates from other geopolitical zones. It is not an automatic slot that can be filled without other important considerations. Chief Falae never canvassed or claimed to be supporting Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party for the 2023 race. As a responsible leader, Chief Falae will consider all important parameters, including capacity, experience and proven track record before endorsing a candidate. This correction is necessary in order not to mislead the public. It is necessary to await the programmes and manifestos of the political parties and their candidates before arriving at a particular candidate to support”.

A million thanks to the Baale Oluabo of Ilu Abo, and the Gbobaniyi of Akure, Chief Olu Falae.

He is, indeed, a master of process.

So I ask: If Chief Falae has not endorsed Obi and we have not read anywhere that our highly regarded elder statesman, Chief Reuben Fasoranti – who treats me like a son – has done so, which Afenifere is Chief Ayo Adebanjo planning to turn to a Peter Obi plaything?

Where exactly can Nigerians read Peter Obi’s views on restructuring, which views  Chief Adebanjo claims fetched him  Afenifere’s endorsement, even ahead of Ohanaeze’s?

Yorubas are no fools and those conversant with the political history of the Yoruba, especially since the translation, to higher glory, of the Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, would know that Chief Adebanjo is not  being driven by principles,  no matter how many times he claims that, but by what Yorubas call ETANU, as I indicated above.

In 2011, he had backed candidate Muhammadu Buhari, and his ‘numero uno’ subaltern, the much missed Yinka Odumakin,  of blessed memory, was Buhari’s campaign spokesperson. In 2015, they took Afenifere to candidate Goodluck Jonathan promising that Yorubas would vote for him because of restructuring, but as it turned out,  PDP did not even make restructuring a campaign issue. It , therefore, fell to Afenifere alone, to sweat all over the entire  Southwest, preaching to the converted about restructuring.

Ditto 2019, when they again took Afenifere to Atiku Abubakar, a man who only mouths restructuring, but cannot canvass it anywhere in the core North.

If of a fact Chief Adebanjo is being driven by principles, and Atiku Abubakar is a candidate in the 2023 election, why is he not endorsing him again? Is it that  he so loves Ndigbo?

He must really be more Ndigbo than Igbos because as you read this, not many politically consequential Igbos have endorsed Peter Obi.

Again,  isn’t this being more royal than the king?

Rather than being driven by principles, the following is what is playing out.

Chief Adebanjo, and our eminent, and highly regarded elders of Afenifere used to be the go to people in Yoruba land. We, indeed, swore by their names, and they were the nearest to our pantheon of gods or local dieties.

But no more.

No thanks to the then young and audacious Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who sent them all to political Siberia in Yoruba land since  the Avatar’s glorious departure.

As governor, in his first term, there was no inanity they did not visit on him as they severally stood him up for hours at meetings, questioning him.

But Chief Bisi Akande – former Osun state governor and the first Chairman of the APC,  did not just call Bola Ahmed Tinubu the ‘strategic thinker’, and devoted a whole chapter to that subject in his Autobiography: Bisi Akande – My Participations, Pages 477 – 484.

Tinubu is the quintessential strategist.

He waited and bidded his time. And that time came in 2003 when then President Olusegun Obasanjo sold the entire Southwest leadership of AD, sans Tinubu, a pig in a poke – deceived them all, and ensured he installed PDP governors in all Southwest states, except Lagos during that year’s general election.

Whether at meetings to which Obasanjo came dressed up, to curry their favour, or to the particular one which he attended wearing only shorts, to put all the Yoruba ‘eminence greese’ present in their place once he had successfully screwed them, Tinubu gave them all a wide berth. Never attended one.

But subsequently deploying enormous resources, and putting his  Attorney-General, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, now Nigeria’s Vice President, to the arduous task for which he sent him to the UK , Tinubu got the services of Adrian Forty, the most experienced finger print expert in the entire United Kingdom, who worked with 63 policemen ,to unravel the PDP rigging, using Forensic science. He used it  to demonstrate in court, how the elections were rigged through massive thumb printing and thus enabled Tinubu to retrieve Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Edo states from PDP, thereby shaming everybody who had a hand in bringing that odium on Southwest’s progressive political history.

That  was how Tinubu became their infernal enemy and a subject of great envy who some of them would do anything in their attempt to put down but rather than go down, its been upwards ever.

Since then, they had fabricated  stories upon stories, cooked up various alliances, all in an attempt to reduce Tinubu’s political influence in Yoruba lañd but all had failed.

And will continue to fail as the Lord liveth because Tinubu means well, not only for Yoruba land, but for Nigeria.

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