BY ALO ABIOLA, Ado Ekiti

The Afenifere Renewal Group(ARG), a pan Yoruba, socio –cultural
organisation has called on all prominent Yoruba leaders in the All
Progressives Congress (APC) and the entire southwest to close ranks
ahead of the 2023 presidential election in the country.

The group also advocated what it called, “classical restructuring” of
the country to correct the highly entrenched lop-sidedness in all
zones and ethnic groups in phases.

Addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the ARG Publicity Secretary
in Ekiti, Prince Michael Ogungbemi, said the country can’t run away
from restructuring, adding that it remains the best panacea for peace
and unity among diverse Nigerian citizens.

“Nigeria needs to be restructured, but what we need is classical
restructuring, it might not be holistic for now. With restructuring,
governance in the state will be healthier and more beneficial, the
running of the states will be healthier.

“Governance under the presidential system is very powerful and costly,
but with power residing in the states and local governments, things
will be better. We must have a roundtable referendum to achieve this.
It is not to satisfy certain groups, it will bring geometric
progressive order, because we have not been moving at the right pace”.

The socio -cultural and political body said leaders like the APC
National leader , Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, party’s pioneer Chairman,
Chief Bisi Akande and the Chairman, Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Dr.
Kayode Fayemi would be blamed if the southwest fails to clinch the
presidential ticket of the party in 2023 due to unwarranted
divisions.

The ARG urged them to deploy their strategic positions to unite the
zone and clinch the presidential ticket that may likely be zoned to
the South in APC.

Ogungbemi said: “About 2023, ARG had met and we had concluded that the
Yoruba nation is ready to lead Nigeria. We have a blueprint that we
can present to any presidential candidate that can bring a better
democratic governance to all Nigerians.

“The southwest is ready to take over. We have human and material
resources. The political leaders must go on consultations. We have six
geopolitical zones, the South-west is just a block. Tinubu must lead
this block. Also, Luckily, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is the NGF Chairman
is from the Southwest.

“They must move for a united family to clamour for presidency for the
southwest and produce a unified front. If they can speak with one
voice, we will actually clinch this ticket, because it is our turn.

“We can’t go into that race with a divided house. Tinubu, Fayemi,
Akande, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof Banji
Akintoye, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator Ayo Fasanmi , Chief Afe
Babalola(SAN) and others must convey a meeting of the progressive
politicians in the zone, so that we can be United. If we have a
candidate that is acceptable to both the North and the South, we will
surely win.

“But Yoruba nation will blame Tinubu, Fayemi and Akande, if the
southwest fails to clinch the ticket”, he stated.

On the planned schools’ reopening during COVID- 19, he appealed to the
Federal government to fumigate all schools before reopening, in order
not to endanger the lives of the children.

Ogungbemi also commended Governor Fayemi’s giant strides in the areas
of education, industrial development, job creation and infrastructure
since he assumed office.

“Governor Fayemi is a product of ARG and he has done well in
infrastructure like; Ekiti State Cultural or Civic centre, Oja Oba
Market, dualised Ado-Iyin road, construction of neighbourhood
markets, Ilupeju-Igbemo-Ijan road, the UN proposed 50,000 housing
units, Ibuji-Igbara- Odo road, cargo airport project, State
secretariat, Lagos Governor’s Lodge , College of Agriculture, laying
of 172 kms of water pipes in Ado Ekiti, Revamping of Ero, Egbe
Dams, Renovation of 342 school buildings, fencing of 171 schools ,
sinking of 120 boreholes , free WAEC fee, attested to the fact that
governance in Ekiti has not failed us”.

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