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Tinubu’s emergence ‘delights’ Afenifere, Ohanaeze kicks

THE emergence of Bola Tinubu as the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress has been welcomed with mixed feelings.

While the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said it is delighted by the development, its South-eastern counterparts said it will come with consequences.

Tinubu polled 1,271 votes to brush aside the challenges of former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who garnered 316 and 235 votes respectively in Wednesday’s election.

In a statement issued by National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, the Afenifere noted that the ex-Lagos State governor’s victory in the APC primary aligned with its demand for political parties to field Southern candidates in the 2023 presidential election.

The group also renewed its call for restructuring, and establishment of a state police in the country.

The statement read: “The choice of a Southerner as presidential candidate by one of the leading political parties in the country is delightful.

“It is a known fact that the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, of which Afenifere is a key member, has been in the forefront of those advocating that power must shift to the southern part of Nigeria come 2023.

“For power to move to the South, there must be Southern candidate or candidates, which was why we were strident in our calls on the political parties to field Southern candidates in the forthcoming presidential election. Electing former Lagos State Governor, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, to fly its flag, the APC has met that minimum condition of fielding a Southern candidate.

“It is our hope, indeed our demand, that the next President must get the country restructured immediately on assumption of office if the present administration under General Muhammadu Buhari failed to do so before leaving office.

“Not only that, the next administration owes us the duty of ensuring that the country is not only safe for everybody, the operating system must be such that no section or group would be in a position to dominate the other.

“The emergence of a person of Southern extraction is highly welcomed. It is our hope that this will translate into power shifting to the South come 2023.”

But in a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Ohanaeze maintained, ” it was a heroic outing for southeast presidential aspirants like Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Governor Dave Umahi and the boycott of Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, whose absence was heroic.”

However, it was quick to add that, “APC’s survival at the polls remains doubtful and the southeast presidency denial will come with consequences and will continue to strengthen the Biafra agitation.

“After due reflections and considerations, considering the just concluded Presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ohanaeze Ndigbo is convinced that the emergence of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the party’s flag bearer has its burden which could be used against him in the near future.

“Nonetheless, Ohanaeze Ndigbo salutes Igbo Presidential aspirants in both the APC and the PDP for standing firm to the end, in the face of utter betrayal by both parties.

“Indeed, the usually calm Dr Ogbonnaya Onu appropriately captured the mood of Ndigbo, especially the South East when he asked a very pertinent question while speaking at the APC primary, “Where is the Justice?”.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo salutes the Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SAMBA) for insisting that it is the turn of the South-East, come 2023. Elder statesmen like Afenifere leader Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Niger Delta Leader, Pa Edwin Clark, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Middle Belt Leader, Dr Bitrus Pogu, etc for rising above ethnic sentiments to be true heroes of Nigerian democracy.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the 2023 Presidential Election shall make or mar Nigeria, if Nigerians fail to rise above ethno-religious sentiments to “Take back Nigeria” from the vicious grip of the kleptomaniac politicians.

“Finally, the accounts for the sudden surge in the number of new registrants in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is enough evidence of the expected political tsunami that will be sweeping Nigeria’s political space in 2023, as the youths organize themselves at great personal costs and sacrifices, to prove that their super firepower on social media can be converted to real votes through their PVCs, to salvage their beloved country, Nigeria.”

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