A former Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Olusegun Osoba, has faulted what he described as the unilateral decision of an elder statesman and chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, to zone the 2023 presidency to the Igbo and also ask the Yoruba to boycott the 2023 elections if the Buhari administration fails to restructure Nigeria.
He also cautioned the elder statesman against insulting him further, saying “it is now fire-for-fire” in the verbal war between them.
Osoba said he would no longer respect “the little” age difference between them if Adebanjo continues to insult him.
The former governor who was reacting to a virtual event where Adebanjo allegedly called him “a sell-out,” added that “Adebanjo has never wished me well.”
He faulted Adebanjo’s position that the 2023 presidency should be zoned to Igbo, saying that the Afenifere leader has no power to take such a decision without the input of other Yoruba leaders.
He also accused the Afenifere leader of being responsible for the break-up of the pan-Yoruba organisation into splinter groups because of his rigid posture on issues.
Osoba, in an interview with journalists in Lagos, described Adebanjo as a dictator, adding that he disagreed with his position that the South-west should boycott the 2023 presidential election due to the failure of All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government to restructure the country.
According to him, while the Igbo have a right to contest for the presidency in 2023, the Yoruba and other Nigerians also have a right to do so.
He stated that Adebanjo’s rigid position may have to do with the fact that he has never contested any election in his life, and does not know what it takes to go through the rigour and negotiations in politics.
He said Adebanjo is not in a position to speak for the Yoruba nation as there was no agreement with anybody to boycott the elections.
Osoba challenged Adebanjo to tell the world where he got his boycott philosophy from, saying that Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whom Adebanjo claimed to be emulating, never supported the boycott of elections during his lifetime.
He said: “There are two issues that I disagree with Adebanjo on. For example in his own dictatorial way, he says he has now zoned the 2023 presidency to the Igbo. I want to query him, who is he to zone the Yoruba race out of the presidential race in 2023? Who is he?
“Where did we meet as Yoruba to say that we are ceding the presidency to the Igbo? Awolowo will not behave like that. There will be a meeting where there will be consensus.
“Of course, the Igbo have a right to contest in 2023 just as I as a Yoruba man also have a right to contest. But he (Adebanjo) has unilaterally zoned it to the Igbo. That is part of his dictatorial attitude. He is a dictator.
“Two, he says we must boycott 2023 elections. Where did we sit down to decide that Yorubas will boycott the 2023 elections? He doesn’t read history, even the history that he was part of. In 1964, he was then still in exile in Ghana. The issue of boycott arose. The National Congress of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC) and Action Congress (AG) went into an alliance and formed the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA).
“Overnight, they decided to boycott the election. Awolowo, who was in Calabar prison, sent a message that we should never boycott the election. He said boycott is not recognised by law anywhere and that we will lose out.
“Of course, we boycotted and we lost out in the government that was formed in 1964. Our other wing of UPGA in the East refused to boycott and so we produced nobody in the National Assembly then. Awolowo has never been a supporter of boycott.
“Adebanjo should tell me example of when Awolowo ever boycotted and where he (Adebanjo) got that philosophy from. I query him, where did we meet as Yoruba to say that we are going to boycott 2023 election? Even if we boycott, other Yoruba will go into the race. The PDP Yoruba will contest, and so, who is the loser?
“If we are going to boycott, let it be that all of us sat down together, debated it and arrive at a conclusion. There are the two major issues that Adebanjo is preaching, which are unrealistic and which Awolowo would never have supported. Awolowo will never support boycott.”