Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday, said his group won’t back any candidate for President in the 2023 general election until the current 1999 constitution is changed to reflect true federalism and regional autonomy.
The 93-year-old statesman also said there is no big deal in the declaration by All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that he would be running for President next year.
Adebanjo, in a telephone chat with The PUNCH, however, said he does not believe in any election without constitutional change.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, on Monday, said he informed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of his decision to run for the office of President in 2023.
When asked by State House correspondent whether he had officially informed Buhari about his ambition to run, the APC leader said, “I answer that with a categorical yes. I’ve informed the President of my intention, but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people I will consult.
“You will soon hear; all you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve got that truth from me that I have informed Mr President of my ambition, and you don’t expect more answers than that.”
The 69-year-old politician, who said becoming Nigeria’s President is his lifelong dream, also said there is nothing wrong with a kingmaker becoming a king.
But apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo immediately described the declaration of Tinubu to contest the Presidency in 2023 as against the rules of natural justice as unfortunate, insisting that it was the turn of the South-East to occupy the exalted office in Aso Rock.
But speaking with our correspondent, Adebanjo said, “He (Tinubu) has the constitutional right to contest for President just like anybody, there is no big deal in that.”
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.”