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THE Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has berated the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, for endorsing the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying that history will judge him for his action.
Pa Fasoranti who was the former leader of Afenifere declared his support for Tinubu during the former Lagos State governor’s visit to leaders of the group in Akure, Ondo State.
Fasoranti and other Afenifere Chiefs were also said to have prayed for the APC presidential candidate.
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The endorsement was, however, dismissed by the Acting Leader of the Socio-Cultural group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who maintained that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, remained Afenifere’s choice, adding that Fasoranti had no constitutional authority to act as the leader of the organisation.
But the President of the Middle Belt Forum, Pogu Bitrus, said in an interview with our Sunday PUNCH, “It’s an unfortunate development because we believe leaders of the Socio-Cultural groups are people who have gone beyond the levels of parochial ethnic and whatever consideration, looking at things passionately at the national level.
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“Pa Fasoranti, with his age and everything, we respect him. We know that he left that office about two years or so ago and Pa Adebanjo is the leader. His coming back to make such an issue out of the context of Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an unfortunate development and I think history will judge him, not because we are of different views.
“That is not the reason; the reason is we believe that at a stage in life, one goes beyond some level of being parochial, but act as a statesman. I want him to reconsider his stance.”
Bitrus, who said the MBF did not see Fasoranti’s endorsement of Tinubu as an attempt by politicians to cause confusion within Afenifere and divide it, urged him (Fasoranti) to consider whether his action was in the best interest of Nigeria.
Asked whether the Middle Belt Forum was open to engaging with presidential candidates, he said, “We have already declared our stand. Right before the primaries, we said we would not support a northern candidate because we believe it is the turn of the South. While we were open to all southern candidates, Bola Ahmed Tinubu did what we believe we cannot accept.
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“In Nigeria, where Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, militia and many other insurgent groups are of Islamic extraction, fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket is not acceptable; so, as far as we are concerned, he (Tinubu) is out of the consideration because we have to look at things that will benefit the nation, not just considering things based on sentiment.”
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