The body said the “lawful votes” cast during the February 25 election confirmed that the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, won the election.
This was contained in a communique issued after its Special General Meeting at Isanya-Ogbo in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Tuesday.
Our correspondent in Abeokuta obtained a copy of the communique, jointly signed by the Acting National Leader and the Secretary-General of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, and Chief Sola Ebiseni, on Wednesday.
Last Friday, the National Publicity Secretary of the organization, Jare Ajayi, in a statement, had congratulated Tinubu as the president-elect, and urged those not satisfied with the results of the election to seek redress in Court.
“Garnering substantial votes from five out of the country's six geo-political zones demonstrates that the mandate given to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his Running Mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, is one meant to re-invent Nigeria as a truly federal yet united country.
A country in which every section and every citizen would have a sense of belonging without regard to any other consideration such as religion, language spoken or where the person comes from etc,” Ajayi said in the statement.
However, the Acting National leader and the Secretary denounced “in strong terms and dissociate Afenifere from any congratulatory message in the name of the organisation or howsoever to any candidate as illegally declared by the INEC.”
The body said that the decision of Obi to challenge the results of the election in court has the group's support.
According to the group, “the results of the lawful votes at the election available to the Afenifere through credible sources confirm that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, won the said election and we, thus, support his decision challenging the contrary declaration by the INEC.
“The General Meeting, hereby, denounce in strong terms and dissociate Afenifere from any congratulatory message in the name of the organisation or howsoever to any candidate as illegally declared by the INEC.
“Afenifere reiterates that for equity, fairness, national cohesion and peaceful corporate existence, the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be person of its southern part and specifically the South-East.
“We call on Nigerians to troop out en masse and participate fully in the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections slated for the 11 March 2023.
“That with particular reference to Lagos State, Afenifere confirms that the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is a person of Yoruba origin, whose great-grandparents are not only Yoruba, but definitely one of the notable founding families of Lagos.
“We unequivocally endorse and urge the people of Lagos to vote for him.”
While reviewing the February 25 elections, the group lamented that the “deliberate non-compliance INEC with its guidelines encouraged electoral brigandage at the polling units.”
These according to the Afenifere include “destruction of ballot papers, snatching of ballot boxes, doctoring of figures and swapping of votes of candidates at the coalition centres through the amended and outlawed manual procedures which rendered the 25th February 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections flawed in several respects as confirmed by local and international observers.”
The body, therefore, called “on INEC to ensure free and credible gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections in accordance with the constitution, the extant Electoral Act and its mandatory Guidelines earlier mentioned.
“That in accordance with the hallowed Yoruba culture of civilised conduct, Afenifere assures all persons resident in Yorubaland, indigenes and non-indegenes, of protection in the conduct of their lawful duties and particularly the free exercise of the rights to vote for candidates of their choice in all elections and thus warn all threats mongers and merchants of violence to desist therefrom.”
Afenifere besides the decision to reject Tinubu's victory also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari and all security agents to guaranty the safety of the people, free, fair and peaceful elections throughout Nigeria.
The body added said that “the international community should show special concerns in the ongoing electioneering process in Nigeria in the interest of peace of the global community.”