PAT UTOMI, a leading stakeholder, in the Labour Party, LP, on Channels Television programme, Politics Today, Monday night, said that Tinubu is physically ailing, and not fit for the presidency. He, also, said, the “desperate ambition” of Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to be president of Nigeria in 2023, is inimical to Nigeria’s democracy.
His words: “I don’t think the ambition of Tinubu is for the good of Nigeria. If I was his age, I wouldn’t be seeking political office at his age, certain things are good for certain times. Why is it his turn? What about other people in Nigeria?
“If there is any ‘Emilokan’ – translated in Yoruba [I am the next or it is my turn]; that is wrong”. He said “it is the Emilokan of Emilokan, because Ko’kan” – translated [Not his turn]. He said the “country has suffered so much from having ailing leaders and that was why the vice president stepped up because he thought there was a challenge to that principle and direction”.
And added: “Tinubu is not fit, physically you can see he is ailing, you can see it, let’s be true to ourselves, let him go through a medical that will be made public in Nigeria”.
Utomi said the endorsement of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, by Afenifere, the Pan Yoruba Group, affirmed the group’s position as a “moral authority” in the nation. He said Afenifere has “established over a long period of times, a commitment to being principle-centered”.
AYO ADEBANJO, leader of Afenifere, had on Monday, clarified the group’s position, for supporting Peter Obi, in preference to Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar. He said Afenifere and the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, “unanimously” proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the “disastrous eight years of Buhari’s government” headed by a president of northern extraction, was to have the next President from the South. This position, he said, was supported by southern governors.
Adebanjo’s words: “In this quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of [Chief Olusegun Obasanjo], the current Vice President, is a Yoruba man, and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023”. And added: “The current President is a Fulani from the North-West and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently.
He said by the zoning arrangement, President Buhari, the current president is from the north-west. After his tenure, power needed to return to the south. He argued that the south-west has produced a president, and the current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from the south-west. The south-south has spent six years in the presidency. Only the south-east has not tasted the presidency in Nigeria. Now that power is due back to the south, he said “equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo”.
“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalise and exclude them from the power dynamics”, Adebanjo added. He described as “political insensitivity” for the PDP to cede it presidential ticket to a northern Fulani Muslim to succeed Buhari, another Fulani Muslim. He said Afenifere would not jettison equity, inclusiveness and justice, because one of their own, Bola Tinubu, was in the contest.
His words: “We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate”. And added that Afenifere had “no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only prosper in righteousness. To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi-Datti compliant” – political slogan used by the supporters of Peter Obi’s ticket.