Leader of the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has dismissed the claim of emi lokan, a Yoruba expression translating to “my turn”.
According to him, the purported claim to presidential succession is nothing more than a personal agreement between the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The phrase emi lokan was made popular by Tinubu, following his June 2022 address in Abeokuta, Ogun State as he pushed for the party’s ticket.
Adebanjo becomes the second elder statesman of Yoruba extraction to criticise the phrase after former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Addressing Labour Party supporters in Lagos State at the final stop of the party’s presidential campaign held at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), the 94-year-old argued that the claim to being next in line is between Tinubu and Buhari.
“The one who said ‘it is my turn’ is his agreement with Buhari,” he said.
“Emilokan didn’t say it is the turn of the Yoruba. Emilokan’s agreement with Buhari was that when Buhari leaves office, he will take over. [But] were you there when he said that?” he asked the crowd, to which they chorused, “No.”
The Yoruba elder argued that his support for the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is not merely about backing the former Anambra governor.
“I said before that if Obi does not come in as the president, forget Nigeria,” he said. “The northern elders now say I want to impose Obi on them. No! They want to impose a northerner on us, and we said no.”
The rally was also attended by the Director General of the Labour Party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Akin Osuntokun; National Chairman, Julius Abure; governorship candidate in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour; and party chieftain, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Abure accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC of mismanaging the country.
According to him, all the years of both parties occupying the top political office represent the “years of woes.”
He said Nigerians have continued to endure insecurity, suffering, hunger, and unemployment, adding, “The time has come for us to put an end to it. The time has come to say no. The time has come to say enough is enough.”
The party chairman argued that the proverbial opportunity comes but once.
“This opportunity at the 2023 general elections behooves on us. We must not allow it to elude us. We must take advantage of this opportunity,” he added.
Utomi, in his remarks, said Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed “have promised me that they will give everything they’ve got to make sure that Nigeria will rise up again.”