Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The pan-Yoruba socio political organisation, Afenifere, has backed former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the need to work together to birth of a new Nigeria in 2019.
Obasanjo specifically asked for Afenifere’s support during a private visit to its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, at his residence in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday.
The former president urged Afenifere to ensure that they play vital roles in Nigeria’s rebirth, through the 2019 general election.
His visit to Fasoranti’s residence came two weeks after the collapse of his political pressure group, Coalition for Nigerian Movement, (CNM) into the African Democratic Congress (ADC)
Obasanjo noted that Afenifere has been in the forefront of fighting for the interest of the Yoruba nation while he has been working towards the interest of the country as a whole.
The former president recalled how he visited the leadership of the group some 20 years ago, seeking their support for his election but said he was rejected by the group.
He said: “I remember visiting Pa Abraham Adesanya thrice in Lagos, before the election, and I was asked to join Afenifere and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) then, but, I told them that the AD was not my choice of political party.
“Pa Adesanya told me if I joined, things would change but I refused to join them.
“I went back the second time but they refused to work for my emergence.
“I went there, again, the third time, but, Afenifere maintained their stand; they refused to vote for me but I secured my votes outside Yorubaland, although they supported me in 2003; for my re-election.”
He commended the leadership of Afenifere for being in the forefront of a just and equitable Nigeria, and admitted that he is now on the same page with the group; to save Nigeria from the verge of destruction.
“Our priority is now one, if we do not join hands to repair this country now, it will collapse and this could be disastrous,” Obasanjo added.
In his response, Fasoranti commended Obasanjo for his struggle to make Nigeria a better place, and assured him of Afenifere’s support, to join hands with him, in the struggle.
“We want to encourage you in your struggle to make Nigeria the best. You are fearless and that is one of the traits of a good leader.
“We have been watching you and your dreams of a better Nigeria shall be realised.
“Nigerians are at crossroads; we are tired of the killings, kidnapping going on across the country and the president is mute and silenct about it,” he said.
Fasonranti, however, said Afenifere threw its weight behind the coalition of political parties to forge alliance against President Muhammadu Buhari, in the next general election.
“We are in full support of all the letters written by Obasanjo to president Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation. We are dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country. The country is not being run properly.
“It will be the joy of everybody to present a formidable team to confront the evil government that is there now.
Nothing is being done properly in this country presently.
“Look at the killings in the North, the president is very silent about it. We are all Nigerians; if he can keep silent about the killing of his people; that is bad enough.”