By G9ija

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has said that Prof. Banji Akintoye does not have the mandate of the Yoruba to speak for them.

Bayo Onanuga, PCC Director of Media and Publicity, said this in a statement he issued on Thursday in Abuja.

He spoke following the separatist comments made by the professor.

Onanuga, while describing the comments as unfortunate and divisive, advised Akintoye to get himself engaged in more useful ventures.

He said: “Our attention has been drawn to an unfortunate and divisive statement credited to Prof. Akintoye, in which his group threatened to pull the South-West Nigeria from Nigeria.

“Since there has been no referendum held in Yorubaland about whether to stay in Nigeria or not, we presume that the separatist idea is basically Akintoye’s idea.

“We want to advise him not to plunge our people into crisis or another Rwanda.

“There was nowhere Yoruba people sat in a meeting with a mandate given to Prof. Akintoye and his band of confusionists in his so-called Ilana Yoruba Group to lead Yoruba out of Nigeria.”

Onanuga said the APC PCC found as unwarranted the professor’s accusation that Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC 2023 presidential candidate, was running for the country’s presidency to pursue his personal interest.

He explained that the former two-term Lagos State Governor was contesting the country’s presidency because of his readiness to render unflinching service to Nigerians.

He said that Tinubu was in the race because of his abiding faith in a strong, united and prosperous Nigeria, where all men and women could find joy and personal fulfillment, regardless of their ethnicity and religious beliefs.

He said: “Asiwaju is contesting to be president of Nigeria because he is a nationalist, a bridge builder and a man with a clear vision to make Nigeria work for all Nigerians.

“Tinubu believes in Nigeria and its manifest greatness and he is prepared to provide the leadership required to make our country one of the greatest nations on earth.

“We want to advise Prof. Akintoye to use the remaining part of his life to be at peace with himself and his maker instead of fanning the embers of discord.”

Onanuga, however, noted that most of the issues on the structure of the country’s federalism raised in Akintoye’s statement had been sufficiently addressed in Tinubu’s action plan.

This, he said, was with his promise to address some of the problems plaguing our federalism and to make states more viable as federating units by devolving more powers to them.

He said: “Since our nation’s inception, too much power and resources have been lodged at the federal level, this has come at the expense of state and local governance.

This is problematic because state governments are closer to the people and must be more responsive to local needs and aspirations.

“A Tinubu administration will rebalance the responsibilities and authorities of the different tiers of government.

“We will collaborate with the National Assembly and state governments to amend our national governance architecture such that states are afforded the autonomy and resources needed to better serve.”

He said it was inexplicable that Akintoye, who served as a Senator on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983, wanted to leave a legacy of hatred, bitterness, intolerance and acrimony in the country

Onanuga said at 87 years old, he should be a voice of reason, wisdom and stability.

According to Onanuga, Akintoye seems to be using his old age to create discord and enmity within the polity.

He said: “Prof. Akintoye said Asiwaju Tinubu was using his old video to campaign. This is a lie.

“Asiwaju Tinubu and his campaign organisation have never used any video made by the old man to promote his presidential aspiration.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akintoye, a renowned historian, is the leader of the Yoruba self-determination movement, Ilana Omo Oodua.