The crisis rocking the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has deepened as its two leading figures, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and Pa Ayo Adebanjo, continue to trade words over the party’s leadership.
Premium Politics recalls that the two figures who currently claim the leadership role of the group adopted different presidential candidates.
While Fasoranti had endorsed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, Adebanjo had insisted that the group would only be supporting the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
Also, the visit of the candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu to the residence of Fasoranti where he openly endorsed him has raised several questions about the leadership of the group.
A section of its members had said that Fasoranti had already handed over to Adebanjo as acting leader, and should not have endorsed Tinubu on behalf of the group.
Reacting to the development, Fasoranti in an interview with Impact TV Africa stated that he neither resigned nor retired as the leader of Afenifere.
“I didn’t resign or retire from leadership. I was misunderstood. I think the best thing is to correct that,” he said, stressing that he was still the leader of Afenifere.
He also said, “As you can see, the trend, the approval and the acceptability. You could see what happened when Tinubu came to meet me in Akure. The media carried the whole thing.
“Adebanjo does not have the capacity to warn me not to welcome Tinubu. Can he do that successfully?
“What happened was that Adebanjo took a stand and I took a stand. I didn’t call him and he didn’t call me. We never spoke about the visit.
“As you saw yesterday, it goes without saying that Jagaban was accepted. Obi has no stand in our mind at all.”
Reacting to Fasoranti, Adebanjo stated that Fasoranti had no power to remove him as he (Fasoranti) is just an ordinary member.
“He has no right, constitutionally or otherwise, to do so. He’s functus officio (no longer in office.) He has resigned and is just an ordinary member of the party.
“Once he has handed over to me, I am the de facto leader of Afenifere. I won’t make it a controversy at all. Let him test his position wherever.
“Where does he derive his authority? Is Afenifere a monarchy? It’s a pity that in his old age he’s being led astray.
“Have you heard of somebody who is out of a process now saying he’s coming back again? It’s a pity he’s making himself a laughing stock,” Adebanjo said. Part of the crisis rocking Afenifere involves the location where the organisation’s future meetings will be held.
Members had usually gathered in Ogbo, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, prior to Sunday’s meeting in Akure, which Adebanjo boycotted.
Afenifere has a long history of holding leadership meetings at its leaders’ country homes.
However, in a recent interview, Fasoranti stated that it was conceivable for Afenifere meetings to return to Akure.
He said, “Yes, that’s the best. The reason the meeting was shifted from here was a misunderstanding, misinterpretation and misconception of some people that I was going senile and that I couldn’t comprehend. So, when I heard that, I reacted and the person who said that regretted saying so. So, no problem.”
Fasoranti expressed his eagerness for Afenifere meetings in Akure, saying they would take place “as soon as the secretary and I put our heads together, and the leaders as well.”
He went on to say that the majority of the organization’s executives decided that future meetings should be held in Akure rather than Ogbo.
When informed that Fasoranti would like Afenifere meetings to be relocated to Akure, Adebanjo stated, “He has no authority to say anything about Afenifere, he has quit.” All of Afenifere’s rights and authorities have been delegated to me. That’s what I mean. I’ve never heard of someone who resigned from a political party and then announced his intention to rejoin.”
When reached, the Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, told our correspondent that he was unaware of Fasoranti’s claim that the Afenifere meeting will now be held in Akure.
He said, “To be honest with you, I am not aware of that.”