The pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has backed calls for the South East to produce the country’s next president, questioning those who think the region does not deserve the seat.
The leader of the group, Ayo Adebanjo, said this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, hinging his argument on federal character and equity. He said while the South South and South West have tasted power at the centre, the same cannot be said of the Igbo-dominated South East.
“How can you say rotation in the North and South, so when it comes to the South, it would be South-West and South-South every time? Is the South East not part of the South? What is the moral we are talking about?” he asked during the show.
“Is it not the South West that has served [through] Obasanjo for eight years, Osinbajo for another eight years as vice president? [The] South-South has served its own. Is the South East not part of the South? That is the question we should answer,” the elder statesman added.
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According to him, the country adopted federal character to cater for weaker parts of the nation, a move he maintained, has helped to foster unity among Nigerians.
Talking about merit when it comes to the 2023 presidential election would hurt the gains made so far, he said.
“It doesn’t help the unity of this country if anybody is talking about merit now. It is because of the heterogeneity of the country; to keep us together that the question of this rotation comes in; to accommodate ourselves as much as possible,” Adebanjo explained.
“Why do you want to overlook that now? Coming to the South for the 2023 presidential candidate is the equity, moral, and principle, except we are deceiving ourselves.”
The Afenifere leader also faulted the just-concluded constitutional amendment by the National Assembly, describing it as insincere.
“There is no sincerity in the amendment,” he said a day after lawmakers voted on over 60 proposed amendments.
As far as he is concerned, the amendments did not carry the people along and thus were not a reflection of the true yearnings of Nigerians.
“Who are those making the amendment? Those are the beneficiaries of fraud in the Constitution,” he said. “How are you amending a Constitution you didn’t take part in. Did we make it? What is our input? A Constitution that tells lies about itself.”