Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of Afenifere has said former president, Olusegun Obasanjo is a tragedy to the Yoruba people.
In a chat with The Punch, Adebanjo said Obasanjo behaves and talks as if Nigerian never existed until he became the President, wondering what the former president has achieved to make him a judge over others.
He said: “Of all the colonial leaders who contributed to the struggle, have you heard Obasanjo say anything positive about them? Have you heard Obasanjo speak well of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello or anyone? Has he ever praised them for anything? These were nationalist leaders. And even when Obasanjo became President, none of his successors or predecessors were good in his eyes. He is the only saint. He is a tragedy to the Yoruba people and this is not a laughing matter. All he does is condemn people but he has nothing to show for his more than eight years in office.
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“Here is a man who came to build three refineries when he was in government for three years as a military officer but when he returned as a civilian President, he could not build a single refinery and couldn’t repair the existing ones and he is talking. He was the Minister of Petroleum for eight years. He alone held the portfolio. He was a man who former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said was bankrupt before he became President. Atiku said it was himself and Chief Oyewole Fasawe that prevented Obasanjo from declaring bankruptcy by putting N200,000 into his account. He has not refuted these claims but he is one of the richest men in Nigeria today and yet he accuses people of corruption."
Adebanjo blamed the media for making Obasanjo what he is today.
The Afenifere chieftain also attacked the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
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According to him, comparing Chief Obafemi Awolowo with Tinubu was an insult, adding that he cannot be the leader of Yoruba people as no prominent, self-respecting Yoruba man will accept him as a leader.
He said: “That is part of the nonsense being peddled by the media. How can Tinubu be the leader of the Yoruba race? The background of Awolowo’s leadership was never because he was in government. It was his integrity and track record. Now, they are calling Tinubu the leader because he won an election. Is that the qualification for Yoruba leadership? There is no way you can compare Tinubu with Awolowo and I regard it as an insult.”
According to him, comparing Awolowo to Tinubu is degrading the Yoruba leadership.
“What is the knowledge of Tinubu? How many books has he published? Awolowo propounded theories and established philosophies such that a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, said Awolowo was qualified to rule America. Even though Awolowo was the leader of the opposition, the then President, Shehu Shagari, honoured him with the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic title despite the fact that the title is preserved only for Heads of State. That shows you the pedigree of Awolowo. What of the background of Awolowo? Can we say the same of Tinubu?” he asked.
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He wondered how Tinubu could be a leader in a country with the likes of Prof. Wole Soyinka and others.
The Afenifere leader added: “When did Tinubu come into prominence? Awolowo fought colonialism for years. But because Tinubu just won an election, those he has put in positions are now shouting ‘leader’. All those calling Tinubu Yoruba leader are his creations. They are Tinubu apologists. They are the ones he made governors and appointed commissioners.
"Tinubu does not even qualify for that position. Go and look at all those who have been branded Yoruba leader and look at their pedigree and antecedents. There is no yardstick for quality today. How many Yoruba politicians who lived during the First Republic accept Tinubu as a leader? Is he a leader? Yesterday, he was extolling Babatunde Fashola but now he says Fashola must be crucified. Yesterday, he was extolling Kayode Fayemi but now Fayemi must be crucified. Whoever disagrees with him must be crucified. The yardstick of quality has gone to blazes."
Obasanjo has been receiving criticisms in recent times from a number of people. Yesterday, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Kogi state, Mrs Margaret Orebiyi described him as the landlord of the Nigerian nation.
Some days back, Chief Olusegun Osoba, a former governor of Ogun state had taken a swipe at Obasanjo for his constant attack on everyone. He said Obasanjo sees nothing good in anyone.
About a week ago, a former minister of transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope issued a stern warning to him saying he should never repeat his statement. He stated that Obasanjo should never say that the supporters of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo made him Yoruba leader and not the entire Yoruba people.