The leaders of the top Yoruba sociocultural group Afenifere have agreed to resolve the group after the two leaders’ controversial support for Labour presidential candidate Peter Obi and his all-progressive MP Bora Tinub of the Crisis Society.

PUNCH on Thursday convened a four-member committee consisting of former federal government secretary Chief Oulu Fale; Senator Femi Okurounmu; former communications minister Cornelius Adebayo and Affinife Afenifere Secretary General Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa will join Afenifere leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti and the group’s acting Leader Pa Ayo Adebanjo met to resolve differences.

Afenifere’s national organization secretary, Kole Omololu, confirmed the peace operation to one of our reporters in a phone interview from Lagos.

But while Omololu claimed that a reconciliation meeting would be held at Faso Ranti’s residence in Akureyri, Chief Affinifer and former Lagos State Lieutenant Governor, Senator Kofuvolola Bakno-A Clayley said she was not aware of any meeting arrangements in Akureyri.

When one of Afenifere’s leaders, Adebanjo, backed the LP presidential candidate, the sociocultural association split, saying it was now the southeast’s turn to rule the country.

He said: “Only Peter Obi can rule independently and not be influenced by the criminals of the government. Tinubu will only perpetuate Buhari’s incompetence. We know Peter Obi very well and that’s why we support him. He will not let Nigerians disappointed, let’s separate tribal differences and vote for the right leader.”

But last Sunday, the APC presidential candidate visited Faso Ranti’s home in Akure, the capital of Ondo state, where he delivered his manifesto to Affinife leaders and received the senior political home support.

After praying for the former Lagos state governor, the nine-year-old announced that Tinub would win the 2023 election.

He said: “Only Peter Obi can rule independently and not be influenced by the criminals of the government. Tinubu will only perpetuate Buhari’s incompetence. We know Peter Obi very well and that’s why we support him. He will not let Nigerians disappointed, let’s separate tribal differences and vote for the right leader.”

But last Sunday, the APC presidential candidate visited Faso Ranti’s home in Akure, the capital of Ondo state, where he delivered his manifesto to Affinife leaders and received the senior political home support.

According to reports, after praying for the former governor of Lagos, the nine-year-old announced that Tinub would win the 2023 election.

Fasolanti said he remains Afenifere leader, while dismissing claims the group supports Peter Obi, but Adebanjo, who takes over as Afenifere leader in March 2021, criticized the visit.

Omololu spelled out moves to resolve differences between the two Yoruba elders and assured the issues would be resolved soon, insisting that the association is not in crisis.

He said: “Dad never fired the acting leader Paad Banjo. The acting leader will still be the one who calls the meeting and the meeting will still take place at the leadership.

Consultations are underway

“Consultation is the hallmark of Afenifere; all leaders will still consult with each other. We have six leaders who make Afenifere, we call them national leaders. They are at the top; they are above the executive committee, they are above the caucus and above the plenary meeting.

“If these six people sit down and decide, it’s over. Anyone who says anything else doesn’t know about Afenifere. The six people will sit down and fix things soon. Four of them show up in Akureyri, only two are absent. .”

According to him, reports that Faso Ranti sacked Adebanjo were untrue, claiming that he was still the acting leader of the association.

Earlier on Thursday, Faso Ranti said in a statement issued by his personal assistant, Mr. Adedapo Abiola, that he had never prevented Adebanjo from serving as the group’s acting leader, and expressed dissatisfaction with media coverage of the matter.

Further commenting on the situation, the secretary of the Afenifere organisation said that Adebanjo would convene the group as the leader of the association at his convenience.

“There is no crisis that needs to be resolved in the first place. An acting leader is an acting leader, and he calls meetings at his discretion. What the leader (Fasolanti) said is that the meeting will be in Akure, he’s not just in Say, it’s just our tradition and what every member wants.

“There is no crisis of one leader grabbing one candidate or another leader supporting another. I think we should leave that until people get to the polls and they know what to do. Just let These leaders give moral direction.”

Omololu explained that the Yoruba group has been holding meetings at the residences of its leaders.

Explaining how Akure became Afenifere’s secretariat, he said: “When you look at it, from the days of Papa Ajasin, the meeting was held at his place in Owo; while we had an acting leader, everyone Both went to Owo for a meeting. After the death of Baba Ajasin, the meeting moved to Ijebu Igbo at Baba Adesanya’s residence and now Akure at Baba Fasoranti’s residence. That’s what Baba said.

“I think there is a serious misunderstanding of what the leader said. The acting leader is still the acting leader. He is still in charge. Only that meeting will be in Akure. He never said the acting leader was fired. He never used That word, and he will never use that word. In the Affinifer tradition, meetings are always held at the leader’s residence, I think he said that, and he never said the acting leader was fired. ”

Likewise, former Afenifere secretary Okurounmu assured that the crisis would be resolved soon.

In response to a question from one of our correspondents in Abeokuta on Thursday, the former chair of the 13-member National Conference Advisory Committee explained, “The elders are in crisis and will be resolved soon. it.”

However, he declined to disclose the location of the proposed settlement meeting.

Kaka denies the report

In addition, the former senator representing Ogun East and Afenifere leader Gbenga Kaka dismissed reports of a crisis in sociocultural groups, saying it was mere disagreement.

Kaka, who is also the state’s lieutenant governor, said the issue between Faso Ranti and Adebanjo was a matter of choice, adding that it would be resolved soon.

He urged the public to ignore messages of a crisis in the Yoruba community.

He said: “There is no crisis in Afenifere; we should stop bragging about or fueling an unnecessary crisis that doesn’t exist. People are bound to disagree, people are bound to have a choice. So, I don’t know what you mean by crisis; maybe you want to explain .

“Don’t we have the beauty of diversity? If we come from the same mother and the same father, and we decide to eat Eba and Amala, it will not create any crisis.

“So, we are like a family, we are one person. Mere differences should not be called a crisis, by the grace of God, whatever misunderstandings are, will be resolved. We are looking into it and it will be resolved. So , which is nothing to brag about (disproportionately).”

When asked if there would be a meeting to address the issue, he said: “I shouldn’t have told you that; contact the secretary or contact the leadership or executive members of Afenifere. They will tell you if there are any meetings.

“And we have meetings every month. It’s statutory. So unless there’s an emergency, it might not necessarily be new.”

He urged politicians not to tarnish the reputation of Yoruba leaders.

“Help us appeal to our people that if there are young people who want to climb the backs of their elders to become stars or make money, they shouldn’t break the backs of our elders.

“At 95 and 97, they’ve paid their dues; they’ve made outstanding contributions, and no one should try to drag their good names and integrity into the mud.

Afenifere’s national propaganda minister, Jare Ajayi, confirmed that action was being taken to bring together the group’s two prominent leaders.

An Afenifere spokesman said what happened between the two leaders was a misunderstanding of the issues, which he said would be resolved soon.

Ajayi said: “When something of this nature happens, the elders usually find a way to make sure they don’t degenerate further. What happened is a matter of misunderstanding; like I told you before, there is no crisis in Afenifere. They all There is Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole in the heart of man. It will be resolved.”

When asked when and where the next Afenifere meeting will take place, Ajayi said the group would meet soon, but added that the notification to be issued would include the location, date and time.

“Yes, Afenifere will meet soon. When the meeting takes place, a notice will be given, but it is not yet completed,” he clarified.

Likewise, Yoruba Presbyterian Secretary-General Dr. Kunle Olajid also said that Yoruba leaders have taken action to ensure that the misunderstanding between the two leaders does not worsen.

The YCE secretary said: “Of course, behind the scenes efforts are being made to bring them together. This will not be done in public, but we are all working to ensure that we bring our fathers together quickly.

“Politics won’t divide them. Blood is thicker than water, parties come and go, but blood ties to you are worth cherishing. Nothing can make a person change their place of origin. You can’t change your place of birth. I can tell You, we are trying to bring our fathers together.”

‘Adebanjo is still a leader’

But Bucknor-Akerele said that since Fasoranti had resigned, Adebanjo remained the leader of the group.

Bucknor-Akerele added in a phone interview with The PUNCH on Thursday that she was unaware of any meetings taking place in Akure.

She said: “Baba Adebanjo is the leader of Affinife because Baba Fasolanti has resigned. I don’t know there will be any meetings in Akure. As far as I know, no meeting to be held.

“I don’t think there’s any quagmire on the ground because the two old men are very close to each other and I’m sure in the end, this will be resolved between them.”

Responding to reports that he was no longer the leader of the group, Adebanjo told The PUNCH that Fasoranti resigned from the position about two years ago, arguing that Afenifere was not a monarchy.

He said: “Pafaso Ranti resigned on his own two years ago. I don’t want to talk about that. He’s no longer a leader, I stress that. Where did he get the power to say I’ve resigned and I’m coming back?

“Where is that in Afenifere’s constitution? Is Afenifere a monarchy? When you see his letter of resignation, journalists should ask him this question. You don’t continue to stir up questions at this time, we’re going to move on , I don’t want to get involved in this “you’re a leader, you’re not a leader” argument. His time is over, that’s all.”

When asked if the meeting scheduled for Akureyri would still take place, he said he was not aware of such a meeting.

Adebanjo added: “I don’t know the circumstances of the meeting. You also have to understand that the meeting you are talking about was held under the auspices of another agency. They turned into Afenifere, which was under fraud. I don’t beg Leadership. I am a leader who knows his onions.”

In response to the conflicting signals in Afenifere, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Chairman of the Judges’ Group, said he did not see a crisis in the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization.

Speaking to our reporters on the phone, Olanipekun said: “I don’t think there is any problem with the group. That’s all I can say, I don’t see any crisis in the team.”



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