Ekiti 2022: Pan Yoruba groups adopt Oyebanji
By Abiodun Ajayi
A major Pan Yoruba coalition has adopted All Progressives Congress, (APC) gubernatorial hopeful in Ekiti State, Mr Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji.
In a statement issued after the group’s meeting held in Lagos, the Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) asked all its members across party lines to support the candidature of Oyebanji. The group said it will set up Independent Campaign Organisation, (ICO) beyond political party lines focusing on artisans, workers, peasants, youths, women and farmers across Ekiti and the South West to ensure Oyebanji’s victory. The statement was made available to Irohinoodua.
“Supporting Oyebanji is a clarion call in defense of liberty, justice, human and material development of Ekiti State” ONAC said in the statement signed by its Deputy National Coordinator Sulaiman Oluwole Aremu, Secretary General Olufemi Agbana and the Ekiti State Coordinator, Mr Ayodeji Omotoyinbo. ONAC is a coalition of 22 Pan Yoruba groups including the Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), Agbekoya, South West Christian Muslim Youth Dialogue Group, (SWCMDG), Oodua Development Congress, (ODC), South West Liberty Movement, ( SWLM), Yoruba World Council (YWC), South West Artisans Association, (SWAA) among many others.
ONAC said of all the candidates that have shown interest in the gubernatorial race, Oyebanji is the only one with a long history of relationship and understanding with Pan Yoruba groups.
ONAC said as a member of Afenifere Renewal Group, (ARG) Oyebanji has shown commitment to values and heritage of the people of the South West to the extent that entrusting him with a strategic position as the Governor of a State remains a long standing wish of many conscious Yoruba people who share the Omoluabi ethos.
ONAC recalled that in the 1990s, Mr Oyebanjo was an outstanding figure in the crusade for the creation of more states for the South West to the extent that he was nominated as a Secretary of a State Creation Committee, he was a pioneer member in the year 2009 when the campaign for regional integration began, he is committed to the cherished programmes of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo being a youth member of the Unity Party of Nigeria, (UPN). His contributions to ensuring peace, stability and non violence as advocacy method among the Pan Yoruba groups is legendary.
ONAC said Oyebanji’s history is well documented unlike some of the gubernatorial aspirants whose pasts are shrouded in a mix of mystery and suspicion relating to their source of wealth and their relevance in the political history of Yoruba people especially in the most difficult moments of military repression.
ONAC said Oyebanji is not a stranger to Omoluabi and mainstream Yoruba political ideology and that he is known to many young and old Pan Yoruba group leaders as “honest, humble and down to earth.”
ONAC said the mainstream Pan Yoruba groups will soon embark on door to door campaign to ensure a striking and monumental victory for Mr Oyebanji.
ONAC said its 22 coalition members spread across the South West will turn the campaign into a Pan Yoruba movement adding that any State election in Yoruba territories is of utmost concern to the Yoruba people all over the world.
The group said Oyebanji’s credentials in the students movement while at the Obafemi Awolowo University, (now Ekiti State University) are legendary.
“Mr Oyebanji has a rich family history associated with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. His adorning Awo’s trademark cap started over 30 years ago. He shares Awo’s blueprint and this is evident in all the presentations he has been making in the past more than 25 years of his political career. Ekiti should be aware of politicians with money and influence but whose pasts are filthy and whose mission is to come and turn the agrarian state into a source of personal wealth and primitive accumulation.”
ONAC said Oyebanji’s passion for free education, integrated rural development and his commitment to Yoruba regional economic, cultural and social integration are well known. The group said the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has left enduring legacies than can only be entrusted in the hands of a decent and progressive leader like Oyebanji.
“We have directed our members to begin mass mobilisation for him to win the APC primary and also to emerge victorious in the June 2022 gubernatorial election” ONAC said