The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, is facing a leadership crisis as two factions disagree over who is in charge.
The Chief Ayo Adebanjo-led faction claims that it has the backing of the General Assembly, the highest organ of the group, and that Adebanjo is the leader, not the acting leader.
This contradicts the announcement by Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s faction, which said that Adebanjo’s position as acting leader was scrapped and that he was only a member of the group. Fasoranti’s faction also formed a new group called Afenifere Elders Caucus.
The crisis started when Fasoranti, who stepped down as the national leader in March 2021, endorsed President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 election, while Adebanjo supported Peter Obi of the Labour Party. Adebanjo argued that it was the Igbo’s turn to be President, not the Yoruba’s.
The National Publicity Secretary of Adebanjo’s faction, Gboyega Adejumo, told Sunday PUNCH that Adebanjo remained the leader of the association, saying the “General Assembly made him the leader.” He said, “No, he (Adebanjo) is not acting, he is the leader. The General Assembly made him the leader. And the General Assembly is the most powerful organ of Afenifere. We have the General Assembly, the Caucus, and the Excos and none of them is with pa Fasoranti.
“We are meeting in Ogbo on Tuesday, the country home country of pa Adebanjo. We will be having our normal meeting. In the meeting we had yesterday, we didn’t discuss these Akure people because it was not our while. We are above that.
He also blamed Fasoranti’s faction for being motivated by personal interests and Tinubu’s influence. He said, “It can only be factionalised because of those who simply want to make means; who are lured; who are only for personal aggrandisement, people who only want positions. They have the list that they have taken to Tinubu. This is why it is factionalised.”
In another development, Afenifere praised Governor Makinde of Oyo state for preventing the escalation of violence after an explosion in Bodija area of Ibadan on January 18. The explosion killed and injured some people and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
The group, in a statement by Adejumo, called Makinde “a true patriot” for his swift response to the incident. The statement also said that Adebanjo, represented by his deputy, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, visited the governor on Wednesday to commiserate with the people of Oyo state.