Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the National Leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has said political leaders and governors of the South-West region are afraid of clamouring for restructuring because they are afraid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Punch, the Afenifere leader said South-West political leaders and governors have been silent in the face of the worsening situation of things in the country because they don’t want to offend Buhari.
According to him, the former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, has failed to speak for his people because of his 2023 presidential bid, for which he is expecting Buhari’s support.
Adebanjo, however, added Tinubu is unaware that Buhari has an ulterior motive, noting that the president is only using the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader to achieve his own political goal.
Asked if Yoruba leaders are not speaking because they’re afraid of Buhari, he said:
“That is correct and the reason is that many of them are under Tinubu. The exception is the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi (Makinde).
“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.”
He wondered why Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who challenged former president Olusegun Obasanjo in court after the Nigerian government withheld local government funds belonging to Lagos State, has become quiet under the current administration.
The Yoruba leader said Buhari has continued to insist Nigeria is indivisible without any concrete steps to tackle the challenges confronting the country headlong.
He continued: “All the time we have been shouting that Nigeria would break, what has Buhari said? What has he said to assuage those fears or to tell people it won’t happen? We just have to keep talking. That is why people are being killed and he sits in the Aso Rock. People were killed and kidnapped and he said we should make friends with our neighbours, and another time, it was to appease kidnappers with government money.
“We are all witnesses. Why are we all living in denial? If the people in government are living in denial, what about the victims? If you live in denial you would die in it. Young people won’t say Adebanjo didn’t warn them. If it’s not living in denial, (Governor Rotimi) Akeredolu asked herdsmen to vacate Ondo State forests reserves because of kidnapping and rape. They tried to change the narrative that he said Fulani people should leave the West.
“Have you asked yourself, are southerners in the North raping their (northerners) wives; are they killing or kidnapping them? Did he ask northerners to go? No. When they are talking like that, they don’t refer to the offence their people have committed. Have they arrested these people? No. That is why I said Buhari has a private agenda. These people killed and raped people in Makurdi (Benue) and the governor, Samuel Ortom, reported the matter to the President that about 70 people were killed. Ortom asked that the Federal Government to intervene. Instead of going after those perpetrators; what did Buhari say, he said go and make friends with your neighbours.
“When I say Buhari is a fake and he has a private agenda, I know what I’m saying. He wants Fulani to take over and that was why he allowed them to come in. When we ask them about the herders killing people, they would say they are foreigners. Government is in charge of security, so how did they enter the country to do damage to your citizens and their property? How many have been arrested not to talk of prosecution? After that, they would go and negotiate with them. If people can’t see, I have said enough. If people don’t make the government realise that they are no fools, they would be taking them for a ride. But some people kept quiet because they were getting the crumbs on the table.”
Adebanjo said Nigeria would cease to exist if the extant constitution is not changed. He added that he was not worried about being accused of hate speech by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
He added: “If they don’t change this constitution, that would be the end of Nigeria. I’m not saying it in a corner; I’m saying it for Lai Mohammed (Minister of Information and Culture) to come and charge me for hate speech. I’m not a novice in this country. I’m not just an old man; I’m a lawyer by training.
“I am telling you that the governors, lawmakers and the other political office holders people are relying on to change the constitution cannot do it because they are products of the fraudulent constitution. When we say a document is fraudulent, do you want to build something on fraud?”