The emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect has continued to cause strain in the long-standing relationship among the leaders of the Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.
While the leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti has sent a congratulatory message to Tinubu over the success recorded at the February 25, 2023, presidential election, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, distanced the group from the congratulatory message in the name of the organisation to any candidate alleged to be illegally declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Adebanjo in a communique after the meeting of the group in Isanya-Ogbo, Ogun state, maintained that the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, won the presidential election and not Tinubu as declared by INEC.
But in a statement by the immediate past General-Secretary of the Yoruba foremost group, Seinde Arogbofa, made available to journalists in Akure, said Fasoranti remains the leader of the group as long as he is alive.
Arogbofa said the octogenarian is the leader of the apex Yoruba group, and as such, his pronouncements on any issue remained final on behalf of Afenifere.
According to him, no one can foist Obi on the group, saying that Afenifere is made up of people with sound intellects and strong convictions but occasional divergent views.
The statement read: “Chief Dr R. F. Fasoranti is still alive and kicking. By the Afenifere tradition, he is still the leader of Afenifere.
“We defer to him in line with our cherished Yoruba culture. So whatever any other member says or does after he has spoken or acted is immaterial.
“You will recall that on September 3, 2020, in an interview, I granted that some members were foisting Peter Obi as a presidential candidate on us and that Afenifere members are not robots. They are made up of intelligent people with strong convictions but occasional divergent views.
“Notwithstanding that, they are bound together by the welfare philosophy of the association. On any contentious issue, they come together as Democrats to discuss and agree on a consensus.
“While the consensus becomes their public stand, those who disagree are still allowed to keep their views without necessarily making them an opposition position to the majority decision.
“I concluded by saying, If elections will hold in 2023, most Afenifere members and, by extension, the right-thinking, accommodating, and unbiased Yoruba ethnic group who are in the silent majority will vote for Tinubu.
“On March 3rd, 2023, Chief R.F. Fasoranti sent a very warm congratulatory letter, on our behalf and his own, to Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his hard-won victory in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
“That was done in line with the well-known Afenifere practice. This is where Afenifere stands: THE ORACLE HAS ACTED AND SPOKEN. Any person or group that may see things differently is free to do so as he is free to exercise his liberty.”