-says no official was suspended

By Our Correspondent

The leadership of Afenifere, a foremost Pan-Yoruba Socio-cultural Organization has distanced itself rom a communiqué circulated in the media in which Afenifere was purported to have said that the Labour Party Presidential Candidate; Mr. Peter Obi actually won the Presidential election held on February 25, 2023.

In a statement signed by the Afenifere Leader; Chief R. F. Fasoranti, OFR, dated March 28, 2023, a copy of which was obtained by our Correspondent, also faulted the claims in the said communiqué to effect that the duo of 

Abagun and Ajayi, who are officials of the Organization were “…suspended sine die pending further decisions after their appearance before and recommendations by the Disciplinary Committee”.

Chief Fasoranti, while maintaining that Afenifere had earlier anointed the President-elect; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was the APC Presidential Candidate in October last year, averred that as a law-abiding organization, it could never have declared any candidate, winner, other than the one pronounced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

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.

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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. 

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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.

Which was why I also congratulated in a personal letter I sent to him.

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.” 

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. 

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“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 Yorubas 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”.