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Tinubu’s candidacy divides Afenifere as two nonagenarian leaders are pitted against each other

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APC Presidential Candidate Bola Tinubu may have broken the ranks of Afenifere, the apex Pan-Yoruba socio-political/cultural organization, following his visit to Akure, Ondo State capital, the home of nonagenarian ex-leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, for endorsement and blessing of his candidature.

Fasoranti, who in company of chieftains of Afenifere from some parts of Southwest, received Tinubu with an open arms and placed his hands on Tinubu’s head, prayed for his success in next year’s presidential election.

Persecondnews recalls that nonagenarian Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a lawyer, who is based in Lagos, had backed the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi.

With the endorsement of two different candidates, it is clear that Afenifere has been divided.

In March 2021, 96-year-old Fasoranti had stepped down as the National Leader of Afenifere, citing old age and handed over to 93-year-old Adebanjo as the leader.

Tinubu, while acknowledging the “Akure endorsement” during the visit on Sunday, handed over his manifesto and policy document to Fasoranti, who served as Commissioner for Finance in the administration of the late Ondo Gov. Adekunle Ajasin (1979-83).

Chieftains of Afenifere who graced the occasion included ex-Presidential Candidate, Chief Olu False, Chief Seinde Arogbofa, ex-Secretary-General former Ogun Gov. Gbenga Daniel, Chief Bisi Akande and Oyo Deputy Governor Bayo Lawal, who represented Gov. Seyi Makinde.

Others are retired Methodist Bishop, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu and the National Secretary of APC, Sen. Iyiola Omisore.

Speaking on his endorsement, Tinubu thanked the group, saying the struggle for the clinching the APC ticket was a good reminder of why he cannot afford to let the country down.

“I thank God almighty that the dream of that time has come to reality. The battle was much. Many of them wanted Buhari to anoint another person but he (Buhari) said no. Some of the Northern governors came together and resolved that it (power) has to go to the south.

“One certain thing is that no Yoruba men and women opposed this ticket. They support this ticket. I want to tell you that I will bring the trophy home. It is not just a Yoruba thing. It is a Nigeria project.

“The North proved to me that Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone but the President said no. He insisted the process must go on democratically.

“The president said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes. He remained upright and saw the process to the end.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end. The battle was tough and at a point, I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused about what to believe.

“President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President.

“When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whomever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in times of trouble in his state,” Tinubu said.

In his comment at the occasion, False, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, urged Tinubu to fix the economy of the country if elected.

Falae, who decried the falling value of the Naira, said he spent his life to serve Nigeria and in his old age, he does not want all he used his life for to be wasted.

“You have a lot of work to do, Nigeria has been turned down, I used to go to Lagos without any fear at the age of 14. You have to look into the issue of insecurity.”

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