By NBF News

Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, Afenifere has stated that it has not adopted any presidential candidate for the 2011 elections.

The leader of the group, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in a statement made it abundantly clear that the presence of Chief Olu Falae at the recent presidential ambition declaration of Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau should not be misconstrued to mean Afenifere's endorsement of Shekarau.

'We wish to emphasise that the prominence of Chief Olu Falae, one of the leaders of Afenifere has at Shekarau's recent declaration must not be seen as evidence that Afenifere, already adopted him as its presidential candidate,' the statement asserted.

According to the group, Falae attended the ceremony purely in his individual capacity and not as a representative or as a leader of Afenifere, adding that 'at the appropriate time, Afenifere will make its position known on the various presidential aspirants canvassing for prominence in the forthcoming elections.'

However, the group joined others to congratulate the governor on the recent declaration, saying 'we have always admired and will continue to admire the Kano State governor for his progressive political tendencies.'

The group stated further that 'we do, in fact, believe that he and his political team will be invaluable assets to the emerging broad-based alternative political platform which is now emerging in the nation.'

…Why I accepted invitation -Falae
Presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party/ Alliance for Democracy (ANPP/AD) in the 1999 elections, Chief Olu Falae, has explained the reasons behind his acceptance to chair the 2011 presidential declaration of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, despite being members of different political parties. Chief Falae said he could not have rejected the invitation because he found in Mallam Shekarau the sort of principle and focus that were absent in the Nigerian political sphere.

He recalled that about 18 months ago, Shekarau granted a newspaper interview in which he bitterly condemned as dishonorable, the actions of politicians who defect to other parties without first resigning their mandate in their former political parties.

The former Secretary to the Federal Government pointed out that he was excited by Governor Shekarau's resolve and declaration in that interview because, 'in our country today, morality and integrity in public life are virtually non- existent' adding that, 'the declaration was, therefore, like a breath of fresh air in the polluted atmosphere of Nigerian politics.'

Falae equally acknowledged the return of peace in Kano State during the leadership of Mallam Shekarau.

Hear him: 'Before Governor Shekarau took up office as the governor of Kano State , Kano was known, as at that time, for riots and social unrests. But we thank Allah. Today, Kano has become the most peaceful and stable states in Nigeria under Governor Shekarau'

He added that, 'I have been told by Governor Shekarau, more than once, and I truly believe him, that his ambition to be president is motivated by his sense of patriotism and commitment to the unity and progress of Nigeria . He also told me, and I believe him, that his ambition is not a do-or-die affair.'

The former Finance Minister reminded the August gathering that the distinguishing features of a true progressive were seen in his commitment to the welfare of the people as the focus and main purpose of his programs, noting that the various achievements of Mallam Shekarau in Kano State qualified him as a true progressive leader.

The Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he said, had clearly shown, through its mismanagement of national resources, that it lacked what it took to continue to lead the country.

'Although Shekarau and I do not belong to the same political party, however, the only way to keep hope alive in the people of this country and revive their interest and enthusiasm is for all of us in the progressive political parties to come together and present, next year, a single list of candidates,' Falae said.

He urged the progressives to come together as a viable and vibrant alternative to the PDP in the next polls, warning that, 'If we don't do that, if we allow sentiment and ego to stand in the way, we will be condemning Nigeria to dictatorship and suffering in the hands of the PDP.'