Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, not to pressure Yoruba people to vote for a candidate based on political pressure.
Obasanjo, who commended Ooni for bestowing a chieftaincy title on the Director-General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, and his wife, Charlotte Kurara, as Aare and Yeye Afurugbinola, said the gesture would challenge him (Sanginga) to do more than he has been doing.
Speaking in Yoruba language with Ooni, Obasanjo said: “The matter now becomes between us as brothers; kingship role in Yoruba land should not be muddled with politics.
“All sons and daughters of Yoruba land, no matter where they are or their standpoint, they will be coming to meet you. They all belong to you. Any one of them that says he or she is vying for any political position, just pray for them and let them go. Anyone who comes to you that he wants to be governor or president, just pray for such an individual and let him go. Don’t direct Yoruba people to support any aspirant. Yoruba people don’t usually go to the same direction which is part of our strength in Yoruba land.
“As far as politics is concerned, even in the pre-independence in Yoruba land, we have two strong sides: National Council for Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) and Action Group side. After independence, we had the same thing with Akintola side and Awolowo side.
“Also, during the military rule, we equally had two sides. We had PDP, APP and AD. Ladoja was part of one side. Please don’t let the politician add to your burden.
“I like your spirit; those who are romancing and coming to meet you now, if God permits them, you will not be on this throne today and you know that. It is good to have a forgiving heart, but let us know what we are doing.
The deputy governor of Osun State, Gboyega Benedict Alabi, former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, representative of the president of Democratic Republic of Congo, Prof Itimba Nwamba, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.