A group known as Concerned Oodua Descendants, organized a peaceful protest in the city of Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, on Friday, April 21, 2023, demanding the removal of a Yoruba leader, of the Awolowo dynasty, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, as the leader of a Yoruba social-cultural group, Afenifere.
According to the group, Afenire under the leadership of Pa Adebanjo has been biasing, and working against what Yoruba stands for, and this by extension, has abused the principles and legacies of the group, and this by extension can subjugate the interest of Yorubas.
The group, which believes that Pa Adebanjo has been conducting the affair of Afenifere like a personal issue and is an autocrat, who only decides without any formal consultations, claimed that his exit as the leader of the group will restore peace and decency to Afenifere.
It would be recalled, that a similar demonstration was organized by a group of youths, under the auspices of Afenifere, in Akure, Ondo State capital on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, demanding for Pa Adebanjo’s removal, as the leader of the group, noting that he conduct the affairs of the group like an autocrat.
Pa Adebanjo had recently suspended two national officers of the group; The National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, who was suspended for issuing a congratulatory message to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for his victory at the last election, and the National Organising Secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu, who was punished for demanding an apology from Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who called Yorubas “political rascals.”
According to the group, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, declared the purported suspension a nullity, noting that the two officials, Comrade Jare Ajayi and Abagun Kole Omololu should rather be commended than be punished as a result of their services to Afenifere and Yorubaland.
However, a statement issued by the group, assigned by Engineer Lai Gboluaje, the coordinator, and Ms. Adewumi Adediran, stated that the leader of Afenifere should be taken from Pa Adesanya, for Yoruba heritage and philosophy to be restored into the group.
“We need to state here clearly that we do not come here under the auspices of any political group or interest. Neither were we sponsored by anybody or any group. The motivation for us to be here is to ensure that our immediate interest and the interests of our children are not subjugated by those who are supposed to protect same.
“We notice, for instance, what was playing out in Lagos and what played out in Ilorin during the era of Aole and Alimi. We don’t want such to happen again.
“Afenifere is a heritage of us, Yorubas. It cannot be appropriated by any single individual or a group of individuals. Afenifere has principles, philosophy, and procedures. We watched with utter dismay, disappointment, and sadness how these noble ideas have been bastardized at least in the last year or so. Noble ideas bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers of our Afenifere!
“We can no longer fold our arms and watch our noble heritage going into the mud. If we did, the likes of Pa Awolowo, Pa Ajasin, Pa Adesanya, Pa Ige, etc will not forgive us. More importantly, what would we be handing over to our children?
“These, and more, are the reasons why we come out to say that Pa Fasoranti should take back the mantle of Leadership of Afenifere. Rejig it for us and let it revert to the original philosophy guiding it. The philosophy of putting Yoruba First in ideas, thoughts, and actions,” the group stated.