Reuben Fasoranti, former leader of Afenifere, says the organisation recognises Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s president-elect.
In a statement on Wednesday, the elder statesman also reacted to the suspension of two national officers of the Yoruba socio-political group, describing it as “null and void”.
Earlier report had it that Afenifere led by Ayo Adebanjo suspended Jare Ajayi, the group’s national publicity secretary, and Abagun Kole Omololu, national organising secretary.
The officers were suspended for issuing an “unauthorised statement” against Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, chairman of the council of elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The suspension of the duo was announced in a communiqué released at the end of the Afenifere monthly general meeting, on Tuesday.
The former Afenifere leader said Ajayi and Omololu were suspended for issuing a statement on behalf of Afenifere in which the president-elect was congratulated.
“My attention has been drawn to the Communique purportedly issued after a meeting that held on Tuesday, March 27, at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State. This statement is being issued because of the content of the said document,” the statement reads.
“Section 2.02 of the document claims that “the results of the lawful votes at the Presidential election available to the Afenifere through credible sources confirm that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, won the said election.
“Afenifere could not have asserted that someone, other than the person declared by the body duly authorized by the Constitution and other extant laws of the land, is the winner of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 in Nigeria.
“The body mandated to conduct elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), after the completion of this year’s presidential election on February 25th, has declared the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the winner of the said election.
“Our national publicity secretary of Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi, issued a congratulatory message to the president-elect after he had been issued a certificate of return by INEC.
“This was cited as an “uncouth activity” by the communique mentioned above which further stated that Abagun and Ajayi were suspended sine die pending further decisions after their appearance before and recommendations by the disciplinary committee.
“Meaning that the two were pronounced guilty and consequently sanctioned even before their appearance before a disciplinary committee.
‘This type of position is alien to us in Afenifere which does not conduct itself as an agent of the state let alone as an electoral umpire.
“We accept the results of the elections at all levels as declared by INEC until otherwise decided by competent courts in the land.
“At no time was any of these officials reported to me as doing anything against what Afenifere stands for or doing anything against the interests of our race, the Yoruba.
“Thus, at no time was I informed that they were queried, warned, or sanctioned for conducting themselves in a manner contrary to what Afenifere or the Yoruba stand for.
“Being an organisation that believes in justice and fairness, being an organisation that always maintains that those at the helms of affairs should follow the rule of law, Afenifere, our organisation, cannot just wake up and pronounce some officials removed and suspended without telling them what their offences are and without giving them the opportunities to defend themselves.
“Such a step is not only against natural justice; it is also in clear defiance of the law of the land. Afenifere believes in the rule of law and in the fundamental rights of all, including the right to a fair hearing. For these and other reasons, the purported removal and suspension are null and void.”
Since the emergence of Adebanjo as the new leader of Afenifere, the position of the socio-political group on national issues has always been contrary to the stance of Fasoranti, the erstwhile leader of the group.
While Afenifere endorsed Peter Obi of the Labour Party for the presidential election, Fasoranti backed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).