A  leader of Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti, has called on candidates who lost in the 25 February 25 presidential election to avoid acts that can threaten the unity of Nigeria.

He also endorsed Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for re-election, urging Lagosians to troop out in large numbers to vote for him.

In a press statement signed by Oladiran Adesua, Administrative Secretary to the Afenifere leader, and made available to journalists in Akure on Wednesday, Mr Fasoranti observed with concern “unwholesome” utterances of certain individuals who believe that their candidates ought of have been declared winner of the presidential election.

Although he did not mention names, the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who is the runner up and the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, who came third, are contesting the outcome of the election.

Both candidates have gone to court to challenge the declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the election and President-elect.

Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi
Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi

In the statement, Mr Fasoranti said the said individuals had gone to the extent of threatening the continued corporate existence of Nigeria if their preferred candidate was not declared winner of the election.

“I want to place on record that Afenifere is not on the side of these persons, and unequivocally condemn this conduct. I want to repeat our oft-stated position that Afenifere is committed to the unity of Nigeria as a truly federal political entity.

“I will however wish to plead with those candidates who lost in the election to consider their various campaign promises of a better Nigeria and call their supporters to order while they pursue their grievances through legitimate legal channels as provided for in the electoral law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; this is prejudice to the olive branch being waved by the acclaimed winner of the election.

“I also call on the generality of Nigerians to remain calm and law abiding in any part of Nigeria that they may reside especially before and during the governorship and thirty six Houses of Assembly elections of 18th March 2023.”

While congratulating President-elect, Mr Tinubu, Mr Fasoranti recalled his visit on 30 October 2022 to seek the support and blessing of Afenifere and other Yoruba leaders.

He said Mr Tinubu received the unalloyed endorsement of the group and was told to focus on two key areas of security and the economy, noting that the security situation in the country had worsened over the last few years with Nigerians unsafe to travel freely on the highways.

The Afenifere leader also used the occasion to endorse the candidacy of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying the Lagos governor had made landmark achievements and deserves a second term in office.

Besides mentioning some developmental projects, Mr Fasoranti also named Lagos State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as commendable, saying that such called for continuity.

“I Therefore, wish to join my voice to those of other patriotic Nigerians that there is need for continuity in the state by lending my support to the second term bid of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu as governor of Lagos State,” he said.

“In addition, I believe that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as APC President, will benefit Lagos State more if the state has an APC Governor to compliment whatever the President has for Lagos State.”

He urged the people of Lagos State to come out en-masse on Saturday to cast their votes for the governorship candidate of the APC.

However, Ayo Adebanjo, who took over from Mr Fasoranti as the leader of Afenifere, has continued to support the LP presidential candidate.

Mr Adebanjo contradicted the group when it endorsed Mr Tinubu for president in October last year.

His said the next president should come from the South-east, which is yet to produce the president since the return to democracy in 1999.

Mr Adebanjo had also openly criticised the outcome of the presidential election in sympathy for Peter Obi, despite the fact that Afenifere led by Mr Fasoranti had congratulated the President-elect.

He had described the outcome as “a daylight robbery,” noting that announcing Mr Tinubu as President-elect was akin to appointing Ernest Sonekan as Head of Interim Government by former military president Ibrahim Babangida.

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