How Fasoranti’s resignation exposes hidden problem of Yoruba

By Abiodun Fanoro, Seye Olumide and Oluwaseun Akingboye   |   04 November 2015   |   1:53 am  
Awolowo

Awolowo

SINCE the exit of the revered leader of the Yoruba race, Chief Obafem Awolowo in 1987, one main and golden thing that has unarguably eluded the race but which prominent Yoruba sons and daughters and other stakeholders in the Yoruba project have continuously shied away to publicly admitting, is the twin-challenge of unity of the race as well as a leader acceptable to the vast majority.

Although the leadership of late Chief Adekunle Ajasin who succeeded Chief Awolowo as the leader of the Yoruba did not witness significant opposition, it was, however, not the case with late Abraham Adesanya who succeeded Ajasin. It was during the period of Adesanya that the whole fracas blew into the open, while all efforts deployed to avert it failed, the consequence was the emergence of splinter Afenifere groups.

Notwithstanding the palpable breakdown of the central group, Afenifere leadership under Chief Reuben Fasoranti still pretended to the whole world that everything is well until Monday this week when Chief Fasoranto could no longer conceal the burning fire under his garment and went ahead to declare that the Yoruba unity and leadership project has remained elusive, going by the way it was under late Chief Awolowo.

His words: “I joined Afenifere from inception with the following leaders: Pa Onasanya, Alhaji Ganiyu Daodu, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sir Olanihun Ajayi, Chief Sam Sonibare, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire and others.
“The mantle of leadership fell on the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin, the late Pa Adesanya and me. As events unfolded in the past years, the focus and goals of the founding fathers were gradually eroded.
“This made it a Herculean task for members to work in unity. Several efforts were made to ensure actualisation of our goals, but it appeared we have not succeeded. This is basically due to reasons best known to members.”

Apparently shocked by the candid admission of the reality of the problem of Yoruba leadership and unity by Fasoranti, the group has scheduled an emergency meeting for today in the Ondo State capital, Akure to discuss the crisis and how to find a way out of it.

Today’s meeting was confirmed by the group’s Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin and its Lagos State leader, Chief Supo Sonibare.
Former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba said Pa Fasoranti, at his age and his pedigree among the Yoruba people to resign his position from such an exalted position of Yoruba leadership posed dangerous and far-reaching implications, which nobody can gauge.

Describing Pa Fasoranti as one of the impeccable leader not just among Yoruba but in Nigeria, Osoba lamented that his resignation further called to question the unity of the race “which is key to our survival in the country and beyond.”

According to him, “While looking at the implications of the resignation to the unity of Yoruba people there is the need to study the underlying factors that led to Pa Fasoranti’s decision. For such an elderly person to take such step there is more to it.”

Osoba disagreed with the notion that the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections and the posture of some Yoruba in the party, to the outcome of the 2014 National Conference organized by immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a basis on which Afenifere supported him (Jonathan), has anything to do with the unfolding event.

According to Osoba, “I don’t think the resignation of Pa Fasoranti has anything to do with the victory of the APC.”
He also dismissed as mere speculation, that Pa Fasoranti’s decision has something to do with the recent abduction of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae. He said, “I won’t to disagree also that the decision of Pa Fasoranti has anything to do with Chief Falae’s abduction more so when the culprits have been arrested.”

Speaking on the way forward, Osoba said, “This is the time for every Yoruba man to bury their differences and rethink about the progress and success of the race. This is not the period to apportion blame but a time to bury our individual ego, ambition for the common good and interest of the Yoruba.”

The group’s General Secretary, Asiwaju Sehinde Arogbofa in an interview with The Guardian in Akure also confirmed today’s emergency meeting. “The meeting will be strictly for members and members of the group only. We will make our decision known to you after the meeting.”

The scribe, however, assured that the resignation of Pa Fasoranti, “will not affect the struggle of the Yoruba race.”
Fasoranti remained incommunicado since Sunday as one of his children said their father was not ready to grant any press interview on his resignation.
She said that the leaders would soon make pubic the next line of action ‎of the socio-cultural group.”
The Guardian gathered that Afenifere members in Ondo State on Monday visited Fasoranti at his residence in Akure, but were not allowed to see the octogenarian.

The elder statesman, Fasoranti, according to sources, did not attend to any of his visitors on Monday.
“Baba cannot attend to anybody now. He is in his bedroom relaxing,” the gateman and close family said, preventing people from having any discussion with the former leader.

A source revealed that there were moves by some leaders of the organization including Chief Olu Falae and Sehinde Arogbofa, who are both indigenes of the state and close associates of Fasoranti to reach out to him.
It was also gathered that Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who received the news of Fasoranti’s resignation with surprise might meet with the elder statesman before the end of the week.

Fasoranti, who emerged the leader of Afenifere following the death of Chief Abraham Adesanya announced his resignation as leader of the organisation through a letter on Sunday.

Commenting on the former leader, Sonibare said, “Chief Fasoranti has been one of the most amiable, respectful, reconciliatory leaders we have had who was saddled with the onerous task of leading at a time when those who had been entrenched in government by the elders now had differences with the leadership.
“He tried his best to bring about consensus within the group throughout his active engagement with members. He remains our leader and elder. However as he has indicated that health challenges will not allow him to continue to steer and chair the activities of the group.”

Sonibare added that Chief Awolowo, and six of his colleagues formed Afenifere to evolve a fairer society, “that objective must remain the abiding credo of the group for it to lay claim to that noble objective and heritage. Our success will be determined by how far we are able to achieve this objective.”

On the resignation, Sonibare said, “It is not unusual for our leaders to step side and no longer participate in the activities of the group, Chief Adekunle Ajasin did so even when at an age that was not as advanced as Pa Fasoranti.”

The former Provost of the defunct Ondo State College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, Professor Olu Aderounmu has commended the former Afenifere leader who he said served the Yoruba very well.

According to him, “Baba is old and is incapable of moving round, and I think that when one realises that he/she cannot perform his functions effectively, the best thing is to allow the younger generation to take over.
“He has demonstrated that, however, it must be stated categorically with all sense of immodesty that the man contributed immensely to the development of the Yoruba nation,” saying he served the people in various capacities.

Aderounmu, an Akure indigene and Vice President of Akure Division of the Afenifer Renewal Group, however, explained the shortcomings of the modern day Afenifere, as opposed to what it used to be with the fundamental principles of the founding fathers was what forced the old man to resign.
“Baba felt disappointed that the ideologies, ethos of Afenifere in those years, during the Awolowo years, were not allowed to prevail. The performance of the group were below expectations.
“Not betrayal as such, well, betrayal to some extent perhaps he believes that those who would have supported him to the very last did not,” Aderounmu said.



  • Kayode Ojuolkun

    Yoruba Ronu!

  • alfred phillip

    Yoruba is a tribe not a “race”. Many Africans wrongly see their tribe/ethnic group as a race group and that is why they are never united but constantly fighting and killing one another. Imagine a french man calling himself of a “french race”? No! They call themselves frenchmen, but see themselves as of same race with all white people or Caucasians. African need to change their ways of thinking.

    • Ayodeji Areo

      with an estimated over 40 million people and more than 500 years of proven history, the Yoruba people are a nation, this is same for other national groups. Nobody can create a Nation; as Lugard did in Nigeria’s case.Norway 5million pple, Denmark 6million people, 7million, The Yoruba are a nation though not a race. Lets face reality. Alfred browse on d word tribe.

      • Kale Sid

        500 years of Proven history? Are you kidding? As early as the 1800 there was no such things as a Yoruba nation. You had the egbas, the ibadans, the ekitis etc and these tribes would go to war if you called them Yorubas…. Yourbas as we know it today is a very recent development — same time as Nigeria!

        • Ayodeji Areo

          Kale the tribes of Germany were also in the same state u describe above until 1871 when they were united by Otto Von Bismarck. The german tribes wanted to be independent until Napoleons wars made them see the stupidity of such. Do we then say that German history began in 1871, historians validly refer to events pre-1871 as part of German history. I.e we can validly say that Yoruba history covers the centuries before the word yoruba (as a generic term) was used.

        • Eyes Justice

          Kale Sid, nations evolve – except if you have problem with the word EVOLUTION as do all who think the earth is only a few generations old. Ancient Greece was organized as City States; they warred against each other and that did not mean they were from different races or that they had no history before the Golden Age of Pericles. Today’s Japan – contrary to the claims of their ethnic purists – is a fusion of peoples including the Chinese and Koreans. The Chinese language has a thousand more dialects than Yoruba does, yet those don’t make them separate nations. You can only be right if you view nationhood only as a colonial phantom as we tend to do here in Africa.
          Alfred Phillip is right. There is only one black race – The Negroid race. Divided into two supra-ethnic groups: The Bantu and The Kwa – which are then subdivided into nations.

  • Olu Ade

    Like the Israeli people were known as the 12 TRIBES of Israel but today the Israeli do not use tribe any more. Using tribe for any race is NOT modern any more !!. Do you go to an Israelis and ask what “TRIBE” do you belong? That Jewish man will simply tell you ” I don’t know what you are talking about !!. YORUBA is a race !! FULANI is a race , HAUSA is a race, IGBO is a race etc but from the beginning “TRIBE” was acceptable but now it is not modern !!. Pa Olu.Adeghboruwa

  • ZINNI

    I am not a DSP Alamieseyagha`s fan,the late ex Governor of Bayelsa said in his Last words(shortly before he died),the Huasa-Fulanis and the Yoruba love no other person except themselves,the Ondo-Ekiti man does not believes in backstabbing, mocking you and laughing with you,this goes to shows why Pa FASORANTI could not survived a full tenure as head of a great organization like Afenifere,Afeniferebrain`s are greater than the entire government of Ghana or even the entire northern block headed baba-riga cattle rustlers,i believed Afenifere alone can solve Nigeria`s developmental problems,if honestly and utmost good faith ,i.e without selfishness and greed as being exhibited by the vultures in power today,chanting CHANGE,and after six months in government and not in power,nothing has changed,NNPC MD/CEO will be given to the northerner now,Yorubas are begging the hausa -fulanis like street urchins or as third world countries win pans in hand begging the Brentwood community for Loans and grants,whereas the womb of our earth was harvested by them,now planning to form a new political party where JAGABAN can single handed control the Oil well of the Deltas.
    Pa FASORANTI never to worry about terrible home grown rebels,history will place him in a proper picture of a just and a TRUE MAN OF THE PEOPLE

  • Idowu Paul

    The problem of Yoruba is treachery. Yoruba Ronu

  • A J

    Yoruba Eje ka ronu ki omo alasho maba wo akisa. Eje ka se rawa lokan.

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