A looming crisis seems to be brewing within the fold of the apex pan Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere following what appeared to be division over which position the organization should take in the on-going cold war between President Muhammadu Buhari, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Following his perceived lack-lustre and unimpressive performance of President Buhari since his election in 2015, Obasanjo has been the arrowhead of a coalition of groups and political parties formed with the sole aim of ensuring that President Buhari doesn’t win a re-election in 2019 general elections.
As part of his efforts to realise his goal, Obasanjo last week visited Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in his home in Akure to solicit Afenifere’s support for his Buhari -must –go campaign.
Speaking during the visit, Obasanjo said it has become a must that Nigeria must be rescued from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC led Federal government in 2019.
While exchanging views with Fasoranti, he said; “You have been talking about the interest of Yoruba, while I have been talking about the interest of Nigeria. Our paths crossed. Our priority is now one. If we did not repair this country, it will be disastrous.”
In his response, Fasoranti while expressing the readiness of Afenifere to join hands with him said; “We are in full support of all the letters written by Obasanjo to President Muhamadu Buhari on the state of the nation. We are dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country. The country is not being run very well. It will be the joy of everybody to present a formidable team to confront the evil government that is there now’’.
However, Fasonranti’s comment is now being given different interpretations by Afenifere leaders and members. While some are saying that Fasoranti statement is an express indication of an alliance between Afenifere and Obasanjo, others are saying that Fasoranti’s comment doesn’t represent the position of Afenifere as a group.
In his own view leading Afenifere chieftain, Senator Femi Okurounmu berated those saying that Afenifere and Obasanjo are into an alliance now.
According to him, Obasanjo’s visit to Fasoranti was a private one, adding that there would have been a full house of Afenifere leaders if anything relating to alliance was to be discussed.
“I can categorically declare that for now, there is no alliance yet between Obasanjo and Afenifere leaders. Obasanjo’s visit to Pa Fasoranti was a personal visit. On the day Obasanjo came visiting, most notable Afenifere leaders including Chief Ayo Adebanjo, and my humble self were in Akwa, Anambra State for a rally by Southern leaders. If Obasanjo’s visit was to discuss alliance matter, Obasanjo’s visit would not only have been a formal one but a full house of Afenifere top leaders would have been present’’.
o further buttress his position, Okurounmu said; ’”People should stop giving wrong interpretation to Obasanjo’s visit. If you notice very well, during that visit, no formal political statement was made. Even though there in no alliance yet between Obasanjo, and Afenifere, but I fully support any democratic effort to remove Buhari from office because Buhari has become a big problem to Nigeria. He is Nigeria’s number one problem’’.
It would be recalled that another chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo had in a recent interview with The Sun expressed doubts over the possibility of Afenifere working with Obasanjo to remove Buhari from office.
According to Adebanjo; “If you are referring to Obasanjo’s Movement, I don’t believe in it because Obasanjo himself is part of the problems to be solved. Although he gave a good analysis of incompetence of Buhari, it does not mean he has a solution to it. Some of us are not Mumus to be deceived by any cheap language. What has Obasanjo accused Buhari of doing that he was not guilty of? Let us look for young, bright men with ideas to organize the country to a better system of government. Already, Obasanjo has adopted African Democratic Congress (ADC) as a political platform to actualize his change agenda and he is forging ahead’’.