Ayo Adebanjo, the acting leader of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, has said the governors of the South-West region are muted in their support of restructuring because they are afraid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking in an interview published on Sunday, Adebanjo said majority of the past and present governors elected in the region, including Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor; and Bisi Akande, a former Osun State governor, were part of Afenifere before they “broke away”.
According to him, with the exception of Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State, the view of Major-General Ishola Williams (retd.) that most of the region’s governors are not vigorously pursuing the issue of restructuring because of President Buhari is correct.
Adebanjo stated that the governors have taken such a laissez-faire stance on the issue because of Tinubu, insisting that the purported political part between the former Lagos State governor and President Buhari is destined to fail as the latter is pursuing his own agenda unknown to the former.
“That is correct and the reason is that many of them are under Tinubu. The exception is the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi (Makinde),” Adebanjo told the Punch.
“They are all under the canopy of Tinubu, who himself is under the canopy of Buhari. But they are deceiving themselves that Buhari would hand over to him (Tinubu) since they supported him (Buhari).
“I have said it openly before and I would say it again that Buhari is deceiving Tinubu and Tinubu is deceiving Buhari. I’m an old man and I’m a funeral candidate already, so quote me. If Tinubu contests the primary in APC today, he will fail.”
The Afenifere leader also claimed that all the South-West governors are not comfortable with the state of affairs in their area of jurisdiction and the region generally but are afraid to speak out.
He added that he is in continuous talks with the governors and urging them to leave the APC and return as full members of Afenifere.
He said: “There was no time we stopped trying to bring them in. Up till Friday morning, I spoke to one of their leaders who knew I contributed to his election. There is nobody there that is not my product, so I call them and I ask them whether they are comfortable where they are now, and I know they are not but they can’t talk. When I speak, I speak clearly. How they became what they are now and why they are there, they know.
“On whether they are achieving their purpose of going, they know the truth. I have always told them, from Tinubu downwards, that it’s better they save themselves speedily. We won’t stop talking because a Yoruba adage says no man would push his child to the lion to devour. I remember when they were harassing Tinubu sometime ago, I spoke out that nothing must happen to him. I’m not a member of the APC but I know eventually he has to come back home.
“So, I’m still on it and I’ve not given up. I’m talking to all of them, that in the interest of Yorubaland and the country, they should get out of the carcass they call APC. There is nothing binding anybody to trace his political history to Awolowo, but what have they got where they are, except opportunism?”