PUNCH NEWS-——Fourty-eight hours after the resignation of Pa Reuben Fasoranti as the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, there is a strong indication that the group will meet to choose a new leader on Wednesday (today) in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Fasoranti resigned on Sunday, citing disunity among chieftains of the group as one of the reasons for his action.
Apart from choosing a new leader, it was gathered that core leaders of the group would deliberate on the alleged disunity among the Afenifere chieftains at the meeting.
A chieftain of the group, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said that the meeting would hold in Akure but he was not certain about the venue.
“The meeting is not for the general house, it will be attended by some core leaders of the group. There, they will discuss many issues that concern the progress of Afenifere.
“Since Baba Fasoranti has resigned, that should not be the end of the association; so, when one leader retires, another one should step in, that is the main purpose of the meeting tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.
However, the Secretary-General of the group, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, when contacted on the telephone on Tuesday did not confirm the meeting but said there would definitely be a meeting of some leaders of the group on the issue of leadership .
He said, “You know we do invite you (journalists) if there would be a meeting of Afenifere; if we want you people to be at the meeting I would have let you people know. Even if we are going to meet, it is an internal thing, any meeting we will be having now will be strictly internal.”
Meanwhile, the Afenifere Renewal Group said on Tuesday that the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, had lost focus, adding that ARG never derailed from the latter’s ideals despite being its splinter group.
The Chairman of the ARG, Mr. Olawale Oshun, said this while reacting to the Sunday’s resignation of Fasoranti as the leader of Afenifere, on account of disunity among the members.
The ARG stated that Fasoranti’s letter that the Afenifere he led had derailed confirmed its worst fears of what it had known since the 2006 reconciliation summit, held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Oyo State
It said, “The failure of that summit provided the groundswell for the reluctant emergence of the Afenifere Renewal Group. Afenifere has now clearly exhibited itself as an out-of-touch institution, whose lack of rudder has led to a total derailment from the fundamental values upon which it was built. Chief Fasoranti’s exit as the leader of Afenifere is a clear indication that the organisation has come home to roost.’’
According to the ARG, it saw the need “for a renewal of Afenifere movement, anchored on the ideals of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, as the legitimate voice of the Yoruba, by providing the visionary, selfless and altruistic leadership deserving of Yorubaland.’’
The group added, ‘‘At this very critical period in the history of Nigeria and our people, we in the ARG will continue the pursuit of the lofty ideals enunciated by the founders of Afenifere at its inception in Owo in 1951. We call on all well-intentioned Yoruba people to stay away from the unhealthy recriminations of the past, inhered in unwholesome ego, dividing our people and enabling the continuing slide from the heights hitherto attained through the vision of that great leader of all times, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the hard work and forbearance of the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin and the late Senator Abraham Adesanya.’’
Noting that there was work to be done, the ARG enjoined well-meaning Yoruba people to join hands with it in ensuring the development of the Yoruba nation.