Afenifere disassociated itself from reports that it berated Iwuanyanwu, for allegedly calling the Yoruba people as “political rascals”.
The group stated this in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, in Enugu on Sunday.
It was reported that Iwuanyanwu had, while speaking in Awka, Anambra State capital, on Saturday at the event to mark the one year in office of Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, condemned individuals fuelling ethnic baiting in Lagos State.
Ogbonnia said Ohaneze commended the wisdom and maturity in which Afenifere, led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, discountenance itself from the handiwork of mischief makers in an attempt to misrepresent the remarks by their patriotic, charismatic and detribalized leader, Iwuanyanwu.
He described Iwuanyanwu as a thoroughbred cosmopolitan, inter-ethnic unifier with diverse national and international contacts; and a committed champion of the Nigerian unity.
Ogbonnia added that it was inconceivable for Iwuanyanwu to contemplate an uncomplimentary remark against any group in Nigeria.
He said: “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the Communiqué issued by the Afenifere at the end of its monthly meeting held at the residence of its leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, at Isanya-Ogbo, Ogun State, Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo salutes the courage, tenacity, dedication, robustness and unwavering commitment to the ideals of pan-Nigerianism and the continued existence of Nigeria without caring whose ox is gored.
“We want to place on record that when the history of Nigerian travails is written, Chief Ayo Adebanjo will feature most copiously on the side of justice, nobility, honour, courage, character and integrity,” he said.
The publicity secretary added that Ohaneze applauded and aligned itself to the resolutions of Afenifere meeting in its entirety and prayed that God Almighty would continue to grant the group the wisdom and courage to always champion the cause of a better Nigeria.
“We are persuaded that the Afenifere resolutions as published are fundamental and foundational to the current socio-political crisis gnawing at the heart of Nigeria; and that those resolutions speak truth to the conscience of the powers that be in Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze supports those resolutions in all ramifications and join in calling on the President and Government of Nigeria to, as a matter of urgency, restore public confidence and hope in the Nigerian project,” he said.
He further added that Afenifere’s unflinching stand on the side of equity and justice had not come to them as a surprise given that the organization had at various times, stood for truth each time Nigeria finds herself at the cross-roads.
“We are not unmindful of Afenifere’s role in restoring democracy to Nigeria through the platform of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
“The Afenifere leaders, with alliances across the national divide and the international bodies, launched the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which eventually gave birth to the Committee for Unity and Understanding (CUU), among others.
“We thank the Afenifere for telling the world the true position on the February 25 Presidential election,” Ogbonnia added.
Ogbonnia stressed that Ohaneze commended the Afenifere for its reassurances of security and support to stranger communities in Yorubaland, particularly Lagos State and for reassuring the people that there was no war between the Yoruba and any other group in Nigeria, especially the Igbos.
“We encourage other ethnic socio-cultural organizations to borrow a leaf from the Afenifere in standing up for principles of equity and justice and to be counted each time Nigeria is confronted with political crises.
“We also join Afenifere in restating our confidence in the the judiciary with the hope that it will acquit itself creditably in the election litigations presently before it without fear or favour,” he prayed.