Head of Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Dr. Gbade Ojo, yesterday, urged the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to reconcile with Afenifere leaders to get their support in the 2023 presidential election.
Ojo, an associate professor of Comparative Politics, who was Chief of Staff (COS) to former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, stated this in an interview with The Guardian in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He maintained that anybody who underrated Afenifere did so at his political peril, saying members of the group were strong opinion leaders.
His words: “On a serious note, Tinubu is a popular personality and politically networked person in the Southwest. Going by the number of people he has made in politics, Tinubu is a force to reckon with politically in the Southwest.x
“But that is within the Southwest APC. Don’t forget that there are people in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who may not be ready for him and would not support his candidature.
“Also, there are other groups like Afenifere. The way they have been talking, it seems they are not in support of Tinubu. Looking at the pattern of voting in the 2019 general elections, which is more empirical than sentimental, if more people could have voted for PDP in the presidential elections in Oyo, and Ondo States, you can’t say Tinubu is the most popular candidate in the Southwest.”
He said Tinubu needed to work hard and romance some groups, which are not in support of his political aspiration. Afenifere members are influential to that extent and a number of them are opinion moulders. The print and broadcast media give them a lot of publicity. They can go a long way to influence the electoral decisions of some people.
“Rather expect a situation whereby Tinubu would go underground to meet with Afenifere leaders, I would have like him to ask them the cause of their grouses so that he could mend fences with them. You don’t underrate anybody when it comes to politics and elections. It could amount to one’s political undoing to underrate Afenifere. They are politically relevant,” he stated.
Ojo said dissolution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) executive last year was political hypocricy, adding: “The APC has a Caretaker Committee to manage the transition. It is funny for the party to dissolve itself. That is why the opposition thinks that they were not supposed to be in government.”x