Francis Moses writes on the growing disenchantment among the Yoruba over recent appointments by President Buhari and the pledge by leaders of the race to resist further marginalization
Divided by election and united by common interest, the two foremost social and political mouthpieces of the Yoruba have joined forces to tackle President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent appointment, which has been generating a lot of concern in the polity. The 64-year old mainstream Afenifere led by Chief Reuben Fasoranti and decade and half old political Afenifere Renewal Group, loyal to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu are rousing the south-west geo-political zone over the appointments they consider a disservice to their general interests.
In separate press briefing, both groups, which had supported the two leading presidential candidates during the recent national poll (mainstream Afenifere supported Jonathan, political Afenifere supported Buhari) have found a common enemy in Buhari over the recent appointments, saying the same thing in their own way and describing the appointments as insensitive and inconsiderate to the diverse nature of the country and the welfare of the generality of the people. For the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, the mainstream Afenifere recently kicked against the appointments announced by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
In a statement, Adesina said Buhari approved the appointment of Mr. Babachir Lawal as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). The statement said the president also appointed Alhaji Abba Kyari as his Chief of Staff; retired Col. Hameed Ali as Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), while Mr. Kure Abeshi is the new Comptroller- General, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
It stated that the president also appointed Senator Ita S. Enang as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) while Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu is the new SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives). The group led by Chief Reuben Fasoranti at its last meeting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, had accused Buhari of being too slow and running the country like a military dictator.
According to mainstream Afenifere Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, “it is a worrisome development that the President does no tconsider the interest of a plural society like Nigeria in appointing people into sensitive positions”. Odumakin, described the appointments as worrisome, adding that “What we know is that the latest appointments reflect the thinking in the presidency that 95 per cent voted for President Buhari in the North and only five per cent voted for him from the South.
This is worrisome indeed. “In a plural society like Nigeria, there is no zone you cannot find competent people. That is why people are already getting worried over all these lopsided appointments. Even some people in the North are being embarrassed with all these appointments. “There is no way you can have balance and an inclusive society when key appointments are coming from a section of the country. These lopsided appointments can never support the unity of the country”.
Adding his voice, Seinde Arogbofa, the Secretary of the group in recent interview noted that “Afenifere can never be intimidated, No, that is not possible. We in Afenifere, we are what we are always are; we are always focused and principled. It is not that we are unbending but we are quite prepared to look at things from a better perspective. Our philosophy has always been education for all, better health for all, integrated rural economy which has something to do with our agricultural lives and gainful employment for our teeming youths.