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Afenifere leaders explain support for Jonathan’s failed second-term bid

By Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure
03 April 2015   |   1:15 am
IN the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss at the polls, Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political association, yesterday said it endorsed him in the 2015 presidential election for the same reason it had supported Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in 2007, which is the restructuring and development of Nigeria.

Chief Rueben FasorantiIN the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss at the polls, Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political association, yesterday said it endorsed him in the 2015 presidential election for the same reason it had supported Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in 2007, which is the restructuring and development of Nigeria.

Speaking during a meeting in Akure, the leader of the association, Chief Rueben Fasoranti also congratulated Buhari “on his historic presidential electoral victory and salute him for his dogged and irresistible spirit.”

However, they refuted allegation from some quarters that they received money from Jonathan to support him for his second term bid, explaining that they endorsed his aspiration because he offered them the chance for the restructuring of the nation as Buhari did in 2007.

The National Chairman of Social Democratic Party, Olu Falae agreed that Afenifere declared its support for General Buhari in Ibadan when he contested for Presidency under All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007, because of their agreement for the convocation of the National Conference if elected.

Falae, allayed fears that Buhari might revoke the National Conference report. “Government is a continuum. I know him very well, and whatever must be done has to be done,” stating that Afenifere would visit General Buhari in Abuja after his assumption of office.

The association pressed further: “As he takes over from May 29, 2015, we would like to remind him that we still stand by our perennial demand (since the time of the sage, our leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo) that to have peace and development, the country must be restructured among other things, for fair play and justice, development of a sense of belonging.

“In addition, we sincerely share his aspirations to tackle insecurity of life and property, stop insurgency like Boko Haram in our land, reduce unemployment, fight corruption in the body polity, and bring our economy to an enviable standard.”

The group also saluted Jonathan for the “unusual personal sacrifice in this period of Lent, and in the process saved his country from needless calamity and predicted perdition,” adding: “By conceding to victory and not tampering with democratic principles, he has laid a very strong foundation for democracy to thrive in Nigeria and set a good example for other Nigerian leaders to emulate.

“By that singular personal decision of honourably admitting defeat when counting was still in progress, he had saved Nigeria when it mattered most, as, no doubt, some were warming up to drag out the war drums.” Pa Fasoranti said: “As the first Nigerian sitting head of state to magnanimously concede to defeat, he has demonstrated exemplary courage, laid a precedent of uncommon statesmanship, rare demonstration of patriotism and sportsmanship.

He has thus created a benchmark for our leaders to follow in whatever contest they may be involved in. ” The Yoruba leaders praised the incumbent President for dousing growing political tensions in the polity, calming down frenzied nerves and forestalling the ominous predictions of “foreign soothsayers’ desire of the disintegration of Nigeria.” Also in attendance were Bashorun Seinde Arogbofa, Korede Duyile and Femi Aluko among others.