The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, says the Yoruba socio-political group considers certain conditions before declaring support for presidential candidates.
Odumakin highlighted some of the considerations while speaking on a PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, on Wednesday.
According to him, being a presidential candidate from Yorubaland does not guarantee automatic support.
Specifically, he said the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; and the Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church in Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, won’t get Afenifere’s support if they did not meet the criteria.
However, Tinubu, Fayemi, and Bakare are yet to officially declare their intentions to contest; and they have not also denied reports of their intentions to contest.
Among the conditions highlighted by Odumakin are the candidates’ position on restructuring and other national issues.
He also hinted that the candidates must have similar views to those of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo on governance.
He said, “For us in Afenifere, we look at matters objectively. We look at all those who are on parade, we look at what they are offering. What is their position on key national issues? You will not earn our support just because you are a Yoruba or Igbo man, but based on what you stand for within the moral crisis and the failure of state that is confronting Nigeria at the moment. How can you take Nigeria out of it? Those are the primary considerations that will determine those that we will give our support to.
“We have not given support to anybody at the moment. We are watching all those that are interested, including Fayemi, Tinubu and Pastor Bakare, and others – Yoruba and non-Yorubas. We are watching all of them. At the appropriate time, we would take a decision.”
When asked what the major factor for the consideration of a candidate would be, Odumakin added, “Like I said, where each candidate stands on the core issues, which is about restructuring Nigeria – returning Nigeria to Federalism. Nigeria is walking at the edge of failure, state failure confronts Nigeria, and to bring Nigeria back from that edge, we need to reset Nigeria back to federal status.
“Chief Obafemi Awolowo was very strong on this all his life – that any attempt to lead Nigeria as a unitary state will lead to failure. And that failure is confronting Nigeria at the moment. We need to bring Nigeria back to the path of restitution.”
He explained that Afenifere declared support for the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections due to promises by its candidates that they would restructure the country.
Goodluck Jonathan and Atiku Abubakar, who represented the PDP in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections lost to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
Odumakin said, “In 2007, Afenifere endorsed Buhari as the presidential candidate of ANPP. So, whoever we endorse at any election is a function of what they represent.
“When Afenifere endorsed Buhari, he was saying that he supported restructuring. On the two occasions (2015 and 2019) that Afenifere has endorsed PDP, the party stood on the question of restructuring. It is not about the party, it is a function of what they said they would do that tallies with what we believe in.”