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Leader of the socio-cultural Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, has explained why he and former President Olusegun Obasanjo agreed to back the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi for the 2023 election.
Recall that Adebanjo had in July endorsed Obi – a development that sparked controversy in the Afenifere group.
Despite not openly declaring support for Obi, analysts have noted that Obasanjo is rooting for Obi ahead of the general elections next year.
Obasanjo, Adebanjo, and Obi were at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo headquarters in Enugu last Saturday to sign the condolence register for Mbazulike Amaechi, Nigeria’s first aviation minister, who died on November 1.
Adebanjo in an interview with Punch said the endorsement of Obi’s candidacy has made him friends with the former President.
Afenifere has had disagreements with Obasanjo over his handling of certain issues of national interest, prompting the group to declare in 2018 that they cannot have any dealings with Obasanjo.
The Afenifere leader noted that he has no personal issues with Obasanjo, adding that their support for Obi is informed by the agreement that Obi is the man to lead Nigeria in 2023.
Adebanjo said, “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.
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“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.
“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.”