Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has urged Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, not to openly endorse or ask the Yoruba people to support any candidate as the 2023 general election approaches.
Obasanjo gave the advice during the installation ceremony of the Director-General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Dr Nterenya Sanginga; and his wife, Charlotte Kurara, as Aare and Yeye Afurugbin Ola, held at the Ooni’s palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Saturday.
According to the former president, the Ooni, as a first-class traditional ruler, is a father to all and it is expected that politicians will approach him for his support.
He, however, said the best thing that the monarch should do is to “pray for such a person and let him go”.
Obasanjo said: “All the sons and daughters of Yorubaland, no matter where they are or their standpoint, will come to meet you. This is expected because you are the father of all.
“Anyone of them who says that he is interested in politics, just pray for him and let them go. Anyone who approaches you and says that he wants to be president or governor, just pray for such a person and let him go.
“Don’t direct Yoruba people to support any aspirant, as we don’t all go in the same direction, which is part of our strength in Yorubaland.”
The former president also told the Ooni to be wary of those that never wanted him to be installed when he was seeking the throne, but now sought his support to gain political favour, said people of the Yoruba race would never follow a single political party.
He said: “I like your spirit. Those coming to meet you now, if God had permitted them, you would not be in this position and you know that. It is good to have forgiven spirit, but let us know what we are doing.”
In his remarks, Oba Adeyeye commended Sanginga, a Congolese, for his contribution to the development of agriculture in Africa.
“I’m impressed with your modest achievements as a true son of Africa. You have been doing all within your capacity to ensure food sufficiency in the continent,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“All through the years, you have developed a passion for agriculture and the results are feasible everywhere.”