2023 presidency: Why I joined Obasanjo in supporting Obi – Adebanjo


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Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, has explained why he and former President Olusegun Obasanjo put aside their differences to unite in support of the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.

A few months ago, Adebanjo had, on behalf of Afenifere, endorsed Obi for the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

The former president and the Afenifere were in the news during the week when a video showed them and Obi at a condolence visit to the family of the late Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, who died at 93 on November 1, 2022.

Obasanjo, who spoke in the video, said, “What I believe and what I believe that Chief Ayo Adebanjo believes is not ethnic, sectional or religious, it is Nigeria and Nigerians. When I go out and people thank me, I say, ‘What are you thanking me for?’ and I tell them, ‘Please, stop thanking me. Why should you be thanking me?’

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“I believe in equity, justice and one Nigeria. I have shed my blood for this country. I have gone to prison for this country, so what are you going to frighten or threaten me with? The only thing that my senior brother (pointing to Adebanjo) hasn’t done is that he hasn’t shed his blood, but he has gone to prison. Let us leave it at that.”

He added, “The problem we have right now is not ethnic, it’s national. For me, the first thing that is important in a leader is character. The problem we have had over the years is that we don’t have leaders who have the right type of character for which they should be entrusted with a leadership role. So, if I put my finger on anything or anybody, it is because comparing one with another, I see that there is merit that would be of benefit.”

Speaking on Friday, Adebanjo said despite his past criticism of Obasanjo, their differences were not personal but issue-based.

“What unites us is Nigeria. All the time I disagreed with him, there was no personal issue. It was on this issue of Nigeria and we agree it should be better. We all agreed that Obi is the man. That is why we are friends. And that was what we made clear to the people of the East. It was the question of Nigeria and we were able to demonstrate the importance of Obi’s victory in the election. Even people who do not agree on things agree on this one.

“That is to show you that we elderly people are united in one thing: bring Nigeria together. We are not looking at the past; that will not help us now. What will help us is to amend all the evil things that the Buhari government has done. The man (Buhari) is telling us he has done his best when his best is the worst administration we have had in the past 20 years,” he told The Punch.

He added that of all the major presidential candidates, only Obi’s campaign was issued-based.

Adebanjo added that the former Anambra governor has been consistent on what he intends to do if elected president.

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