The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has split into two groups, with one backing President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid and the other opposing it.
Some national dailies had reported on Friday that Afenifere had endorsed Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as the Yoruba candidates for the 2019 presidential election.
The group did not stop there. It said any other group that fails to align with its declaration would be treated usurpers and renegades.
Spokesperson for this group of Afenifere, Biodun Akin-Fasae, stated the group’s position on Thursday.
The group, which held a meeting of delegates and elders from the six southwest states in Ibadan, is led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi.
Some notable figures at the meeting included former Oyo State Governor Omololu Olunloyo, Prince Tajudden Olusi, Dr. Abayomi Fini, Chief Adeleke Adewoyin, Prince Biodun Ogunleye, former Oyo State Deputy Governor Iyiola Oladokun and Pa Ayo Afolabi.
“We are now telling the Yoruba people and the whole world that Afenifere, as enunciated and enacted by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is still intact and we are going to support President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the 2019 presidential election,” Akin-Fasae said.
But another Afenifere group has accused a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu of orchestrating a “fake” endorsement of Buhari.
“That is a fake Afenifere group powered by Bola Ahmed Tinubu. If you look at the names of the people at that particular group, the only person that was once with us is Senator Fasanmi and we believe they are just using him,” Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin told Punch.
“The masquerade behind this entire show is Bola Tinubu, who has plenty of money. Why is he hiding under Afenifere? Haven’t he and his people been disparaging Afenifere? Why has Afenifere suddenly become attractive to them?
“When Afenifere was fighting for the rights of Yoruba people attacked by herdsmen in Ile-Ife and in Akure, where was Bola Tinubu? Suddenly, he remembers Afenifere because elections are here.
“Let Tinubu come and meet us directly. Why is he hiding and using our name?”