By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
As the preparation for the 2023 presidential election continues to gather pace, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has criticised Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, over the its alleged refusal to support the presidential ambition of All Progressives Congress(APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
This was contained in a statement issued by MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday.
Recall that Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, had in a recent interview said his group won’t back any candidate for president in the 2023 general elections until the current 1999 constitution is changed to reflect true federalism and regional autonomy.
When asked whether Afenifere would be backing Tinubu, Adebanjo said: “I am not commenting on any candidature now. I am not recommending any candidature under this constitution until it is changed.
“I don’t believe in any election without changing the constitution so there is no point commenting on the candidates.”
But MURIC said it was shocking that Afenifere has remained taciturn two weeks after Tinubu declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2023.
“Afenifere is making a great mistake by distancing itself from Tinubu simply because the latter supported President Muhammadu Buhari. Afenifere is playing parochial politics. There is no scintilla of doubt that regional politics is parochial politics. It is myopic and unpatriotic. A visionary group will extend its horizon. That is what Tinubu has done and his nationalistic mien has earned him nationwide acceptance. You cannot remain locked up in your shell and expect the whole country to embrace you. Afenifere should wise up.
“Afenifere has one or two lessons to learn from the Igbo. Unlike Afenifere’s cold attitude towards the only Yoruba man who has shown interest in the presidency (at least publicly), the Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohanaeze, has pledged to support two Igbo men (Anyim Pius Anyim and Dave Umahi) who have expressed interest in the presidency with 10 billion naira. That is the spirit.
“We call on Afenifere to sharpen its political instinct. An adage says one good turn deserves another. The Yoruba socio-cultural group should neither reject its best candidate nor remain neutral at a time others are embracing their own,” the statement read in part.