Endorsement By Afenifere In Bad Taste


By Odunayo Joseph

Considering the reckoning of the sophistication of Yoruba in the political evolution of Nigeria both at national and at international levels, it is pertinent that much is expected from any pan socio-political organisation that is set up as an umbrella body for the propagation and protection of the common interests of the Yoruba in all ramifications.  In this light, the Afenifere readily comes to mind.

However, the recent pitching of tent with the ruling  political party (PDP) for the 2015 general elections by Afenifere has continued to be mired in a heated and an unending controversy, accusations and counter-accusations from the Yoruba.  While some people do not see anything wrong with the partisanship posture of the organization, others see the action of the group as a sell out which is at variance with the wishes of the majority of the Yoruba both at home and in diaspora  who believe that it was high time the PDP government was replaced at the Federal level by the All Progressives Congress, APC, that is seen as the alternative party than can effectively tackle the two main problems facing Nigeria today as a country – INSECURITY and CORRUPTION.

The views expressed by Chief Babatunde Oduwoye, a fomer Alliance for Democracy Whip in the House of Representatives and a one-time Publicity Secretary of a faction of Afenifere in an interview that he granted a newspaper on  Wednesday, 26 December, underscore the fact that the problem bedevilling Afenifere right from the onset has been that of unnecessary endorsement of a political party without a recourse to the diverse political interests and lack of balancing when it comes to taking a serious political decision as the one on endorsement of one out of the presidential contestants in the 2015 elections.

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In that interview, Chief Oduwoye was asked if it wouldn’t be a better idea if a transformed Afenifere endorses credible and tested candidates that believe in its core values across all the political parties. And he replied: “I agree with you and that is why I will say irrespective of the political party you belong to, if an individual is seen by its immediate community to be of good background, credible, resourceful and believes in Afenifere credo, such a candidate should be endorsed by Afenifere.”  He further opined that “Even when you look at it, where are the political parties in Nigeria today?  Almost all the parties are disappearing; most of the parties are getting balkanized, apart from the ruling party, whose main attraction is the patronage and a lot of money at the centre.  If you want to talk about the three first political parties we had in 1998/1999, you will discover that Uncle Bola Ige of blessed memory did a lot in perfecting the constitutions of these three parties.  It’s not the constitution, but the people in these parties that matter.  There is nothing wrong with these parties, if the people can be seen to represent the wishes and aspirations of the people they represent.”

In  summary, he said: “It will be better if Afenifere endorses candidates, irrespective of the political parties; but taking into consideration who they are, where they come from and their relationship with their immediate community.”

Without mincing words, other socio-political associations in Nigeria outside Afenifere such as Ohaneze-Indigbo, the Arewa Consultative Forum,  just to mention a few,  have a lot to learn from the stance of the likes of Chief Oduoye on the enthronement of bad governance through prejudiced political interest and self-centeredness of the leadership of socio-political organizations in Nigeria.

•Joseph wrote from Kogi State. E-mail: [email protected]

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