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2023: Don’t Direct Yoruba To Support Any Aspirant, Obasanjo Advises Ooni Of Ife

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday urged the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, not to direct the Yoruba people to support any aspirant in the 2023 general election.

The former president asked the monarch not to allow Yoruba politicians to “add to your burden”.

“Don’t direct Yoruba people to support any aspirant, as we don’t all go in the same direction, which is part of our strength in Yoruba land,” he said.

Obasanjo spoke during the chieftaincy conferment on the Director-General of International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga,

and his wife, Mrs. Charlotte Sanginga, by the Ooni at his palace in Ile-Ife.

He advised the monarch to strike a balance between his role as a royal father and politics in Yoruba land.

“All the sons and daughters of Yoruba land, no matter where they are or their standpoint, will come to meet you. This is expected because you are the father of all.

“Any one of them who says that he is interested in politics – just pray for him and let them go. Anyone who approaches you and says that he wants to be president or governor, just pray for such a person and let him go.

“Don’t direct Yoruba people to support any aspirant, as we don’t all go in the same direction, which is part of our strength in Yoruba land,” Obasanjo said.

The former president reminded the monarch that as far as politics was concerned, even in the pre-independence era, the Yoruba usually had two strong sides, adding: “Please, don’t let politicians add to your burden”.

The former president commended Sanginga for his dedication to agriculture, food, and nutrition security in Africa.

Sanginga, a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) national, and his wife, were honoured with Aare and Yeye Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source respectively.

The former president, who said that the chieftaincy conferment was in recognition of the director-general’s passion for the development of agriculture in Africa, urged Sanginga to see the honour as a challenge to do more for the continent.

Obasanjo, who is IITA Ambassador, commended Oba Ogunwusi for the choice of Sanginga and his wife for the chieftaincy titles, saying that they were both worthy of the honour.

“I commend Your Imperial Majesty for the bold step taken to honour this distinguished African who has dedicated his life to agriculture, food security, and nutrition in Africa.

“I want to assure you these new chiefs will not disappoint you; that they will not disappoint Ife indigenes and the entire Yoruba race.

“I know and I am sure that they will live up to the honour that you have bestowed on them,” he said.

On his part, Oba Ogunwusi appreciated the IITA director-general’s passion for agricultural development in Africa.

According to him, despite the balkanisation of Africa by the Europeans, Africans will continue to remain one and indivisible.

“I’m impressed with your modest achievements as a true son of Africa. You have been doing all within your capacity to ensure food sufficiency in the continent.

“All through the years, you have developed a passion for agriculture and the results are feasible everywhere,” the traditional ruler said.

In his acceptance speech, Sanginga applauded Ooni for the fatherly role he had been playing, not only in Yoruba land but all over the country.

He also commended Oba Ogunwusi for counting his and his wife worthy of the honour, pledging that he would continue to support him in all ways.

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