The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has clarified the rumour on pictures of its leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, being circulated in company of the Islamic preacher, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, the Yoruba group maintained that Adebanjo, a lawyer, has nothing to do with Sheikh Gumi.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to some pictures making the rounds, in which the acting Leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, was alleged to be in company of Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, the Islamic preacher, who is negotiating with kidnappers in the Northern parts of Nigeria.
“Those pictures being circulated, in which Adebanjo was seen in the same flight with Gumi, and later in a handshake in the presence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, were taken in 2018 in the run-up to the presidential election in 2019.”
Afenifere recalled that the former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar solicited the assistance of various important personalities to help him secure the support of his former boss, Obasanjo, in his bid to become the country’s president then.
Afenifere said: “Those Atiku Abubakar approached for this purpose included Sokoto Catholic Archbishop, Fr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop David Oyedepo, Senator Ben Bruce, among others…”
“The picture taken in the plane was when the delegation was flown to Abeokuta, Ogun State home of Chief Obasanjo.
Chief Adebanjo was in rear of Atiku Abubakar’s private jet that convened the team to Obasanjo’s home.
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Those on the same flight with Gumi and Chief Adebanjo included PDP Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus. And, as at that time, Pa Adebanjo was not even the Leader of Afenifere.
“The reports of the visit to Obasanjo in 2018 were widely made in the news media of 2018. As a matter of fact, it is on record that Chief Adebanjo condemned the present actions of Gumi, as contained in, among others, the statement jointly issued by Adebanjo-led Afenifere, PANDEF, Ohaneze and Middle Belt Forum as reported by Vanguard newspaper edition of February 28, 2021”.