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2023: We Insist On Southern President, Not Yoruba President – Afenifere

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Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has said it was not desperate to have a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president in 2023.

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The group said it would rather favour a president that emerges from any part of the South.

The group’s position was in contrast with that of Yoruba Council of Elders, which said it supported a president of Yoruba extraction.

The two leading Yoruba groups made their positions known during separate interviews on Friday with The Sun following consultations being made by some All Progressives Congress governors.

Some power brokers in the South-West under the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria had met in Ibadan, Oyo State, recently under the aegis of Next Level Consolidation Forum to ensure that South-West produced Nigeria’s next president in 2023.

They had insisted that presidential power must come to the South-West in 2023, and the acceptable person that the Yoruba would present for the office would be decided as time went on.

But in an interview, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Jare Ajayi, said, “First of all, the presidency in 2023 must shift to the Southern part of the country. We insist on that. For whether it should be South-East, South-South or South-West, we want the best person, who will do the job, correct all the anomalies that the country is going through, and ensure that Nigeria move forward to where other countries are in the 21st Century and beyond.

“That is the kind of candidate that we are looking forward to. To be specific, when we get close to that time, we will decide. As far as we are concerned in Afenifere, whoever that emerges as president in 2023, will have problem in running the country if Nigeria is not restructured. There must be serious tinkering with the present structure in such a way that it will be pro-people, rather than how it is now.

“There must be restructuring before 2023. The question of where the president will come from is secondary. But the president must come from the Southern part of this country. What we are running on the country today is more or less a unitary government, which concentrates too much power at the centre. So, we are calling for decentralisation and genuine commitment to the rule of law and federalism. We are insisting that these must take place before the 2023 elections.”

Secretary-General, YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, stated that he would be “very delighted if Nigerians decide to elect our kinsman as president in 2023 for a number of reasons”.

He said, “If you look at the landscape of Nigeria, without being immodest, Yoruba people appear to be the most liberal and most accommodating in Nigeria. Traditionally, Yoruba culture is that at all times, we must do what is right and you must insist on fairness and equity for all.”