The leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo has hit out at former President Goodluck Jonathan over his position on contesting the 2023 presidency.
Adebanjo said the fact that Jonathan even told his supporters to watch out for a possible declaration is a disgrace.
He spoke against the backdrop of last week’s declaration by Jonathan to supporters who stormed his Abuja office urging him to declare for the 2023 presidency that the political process is ongoing, and urged them to just watch as things unfold.
Specifically, he stated that he can’t tell them if he would be declaring or not for the 2023 presidential race yet.
The Afenifere leader stated that in the interest of fairness, peace, and justice, it is the turn of the southeast (Igbo) to produce the next president of Nigeria and Jonathan should not even have told his supporters to watch out for anything.
It has been reported Adebanjo made his position on the 2023 presidency known on Monday during his remarks at the ‘Greater Nigeria Conference’ organized by the Nzuko Nmunna, an Igbo think-tank group.
He said: “The unfortunate thing is that — I’m sorry to raise this — former President Goodluck Jonathan allowed himself to be disgraced by allowing himself to mention that he’s considering being president. For what?” he asked.
“Each time I reflect over it, I remember the struggle and campaign I made for Goodluck on the principle that every part of the country, no matter how small, is entitled to the highest position of this country if we still want to be in Nigeria in peace — not by force.
“It’s a question of national cake, national equality. The Nigeria which I fought for — I was a follower of Azikiwe, Awolowo — we want one Nigeria.”
Adebanjo also claimed some people are trying to rewrite history in an attempt to deny the southeast an opportunity to produce the president.
He stated that in 2014, it was agreed that the north should produce the president of Nigeria which led to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He now wondered why some politicians are not supporting the same issue of zoning that worked for them back then but are now trying to make excuses on why zoning should not be considered for 2023.
According to him, if merit were to be considered, only candidates from the south-east will hold the office “till kingdom come”.
He however urged the people of the southeast to unite and present a common front so they can, with a strong voice, make their demand known, and actualize the 2023 Igbo presidency of their dreams.
He added that “In 2014, when they were campaigning for Buhari, he said it was the turn of the north, and when we heard it, we had it for keeps.”
“When it is now the turn of the south and the south-east, they’re now propounding a new theory — the question of merit. If it was based on merit, till today, till kingdom come, the east alone will produce a president.
“I am saying all these to tell you that the question of lobbying, campaigning is rigmarole. They know the truth.
“For the fact that they’re saying you have no people, I’m happy you have demonstrated that you do. But you must go and unite. You must be united. A house divided against itself will not stand.”