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2023: Understandable; he is one of Them, Northern governors will abandon Bola Tinubu, for Atiku Abubakar – Prof Banji Akintoye

2023: Understandable; he is one of Them, Northern governors will abandon Bola Tinubu, for Atiku Abubakar – Prof Banji Akintoye

Prof Banji Akintoye, 87, leader of Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, has said the support for Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by northern governors is not genuine.

According to the senior citizen who currently resides in Benin Republic, the support for Tinubu among northern governors in APC grew when Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, emerged presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Prof Akintoye argued that the governors gave Tinubu ticket since they know they can support Atiku to become president through the PDP, and will abandon the former Lagos governor eventually.

The self determination activist who spoke in an interview with Punch, was reacting to a question about whether Tinubu’s emergence will end agitation for self-determination in Yorubaland.

He said, “That is understandable; he is one of us and we have people who think, ‘Let’s try this one, whether he would perform; let’s see whether this one would bring some good results’. Naturally, we expected that, but we were also able to look in-depth at a level that an ordinary citizen will not be able to look.

“For instance, why did the northern governors suddenly around turn to say they were supporting Tinubu? They turned around after Atiku (Abubakar) emerged as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. Up to that point, they were saying they didn’t recognise rotational presidency and there was nothing like rotational presidency but when Atiku was nominated, the next hour, they said they supported a southern candidate – Tinubu. So, there is something hidden in that.

“A lot of people don’t know it but when we looked at it, we know that the interest of northern governors in Tinubu’s candidacy is not genuine; it is not honest. What they have decided to do is to give him (Tinubu) the nomination, and then support their brother (Atiku) in the PDP. That is where they will migrate to and give him (Atiku) the victory and that is what is going to happen. So, it is not worth giving up the (Yoruba Nation) struggle for.”

Akintoye said he has no relationship with Tinubu, and that the former governor never reached out to his group.

“I think Tinubu knows me; he knows I am an unusually focused person. I took that from my upbringing and I took it from (the late) Chief (Obafemi) Awolowo,” he said.

“I am focused on the quality of life of our people and I have come to the conclusion that leaving Nigeria and building a separate country of our own is the only way to protect the quality of lives of our people. I have no problem with Bola Tinubu. No issues. He is my younger brother and I am his elder.”

Asked if he supports Tinubu’s presidential ambition, he said, “No; I don’t support his politics now but if the times were okay and I was asked to bring somebody from Yorubaland to be President of Nigeria, of course, I would go for Bola Tinubu; but the time is not right. People are killing our people in large numbers. People were killed in a church in Owo, Ondo State and people were being killed in Ekiti, Igangan, Ibarapa and so on. And then President? Is that the next thing in that kind of circumstances.”

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