The campaign of calumny by the support groups loyal to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not augur well for the Yoruba race and Nigeria as a whole, The Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative (TYLPI) has cautioned.
Osinbajo and Tinubu, who is the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are leading Yoruba aspirants jostling for the presidential ticket of the ruling political party for the 2023 elections.
Demarketing campaigns focusing on allegations and counter-allegations of betrayal, greed and perceived moral burden have beclouded the campaigns by their supporters since both political heavyweights confirmed their interest in the race.
Rising from its roundtable, which examined the issues concerning Yorubaland and the 2023 poll, the group warned that the bitterness and mudslinging generated by supporters of both aspirants ‘portends grave danger for the social and political health of the region’.
TYLPI, in the statement signed by its Director of Publicity, Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, while noting that both Osinbajo and Tinubu were once allies, said the tempo of the campaign of hate from the two sides could trigger chaos unless urgent steps were taken to put an end to the negative energy.
It therefore urged both parties to cease hostilities in the interest of Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole.
The group also appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders and opinion leaders in Yorubaland to call those behind the campaigns of calumny to order.
According to TYLPI, if unchecked, the current bitter exchanges would raise the political temperature in the Southwest region and degenerate into a repeat of the civil disorder experienced in the defunct Western Region in the 1960s.
The Western Region crises of that era resulted in violence, arson and unforgiven bitterness among Yoruba leaders, culminating eventually in the military coup that truncated Nigeria’s first civilian government.
TYLPI, a think tank of Yoruba professionals, entrepreneurs and intellectuals, lamented that the ongoing brickbats were diverting attention from the significant issues that were of current concern to the Yoruba race.
Such issues, according to the pressure group, included restructuring, devolution of power, state police, resource control, justice, fairness and equity in the Nigerian state. All these, it observed, had been swept under the carpet in the current diatribe between the supporters of the two contenders.
The group said that the Yoruba race and indeed the Nigerian nation were experiencing serious existential challenges, and implored men and women of goodwill to do all in their power to stave off anything that could create further tension in the polity.
TYLPI said both Osinbajo and Tinubu were eminently qualified to contest for the Presidency, and that their decision to go for it should not cause rancour among their supporters.
It then appealed to the two politicians to rein in their supporters and allow peace to reign in the land.
The group urged Osinbajo and Tinubu to refocus their campaign on issues that would bring about positive development in the country, restore peace, activate economic turnaround and generate solutions that would improve the lot of the common man in the country.
TYLPI also called for improved security in the country ahead of the general elections.