By Ahmed Olubodun
The traditional Afenifere group led by Pa Reuben Fasoranti has held a private meeting with the All Peoples Congress, (APC) National leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
IrohinOodua was reliably informed that the meeting held at the Bourdillon home of Tinubu last week Friday. Sources told our correspondent that leaders of Afenifere, Pa Olanihun Ajayi (91), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (89) and Fasoranti (92) initiated the meeting as part of the efforts to reconcile the various Yoruba interest groups.
“The old men acted like statesmen. They felt at their old age, they should try their best to keep Yoruba united and formidable. The youngest of the Afenifere oldies is 89. Their desire and overall Yoruba interest prompted the meeting” a source who was privy to the outing told IrohinOodua.
The source said Pa Olanihun expressed worry about the downturn of socio-political events in Yorubaland and was deeply concerned about the need to bring the various interests together as one formidable group.
“At my age, over 91, I’m a successful man. What else do I want? I’m also in good health. But I’m concerned about the future of Yoruba Nation. I want good stories for Chief Awolowo by the time I met him in the great beyond” Pa Olanihun was reported to have told Tinubu in the meeting which was also attended by the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. The meeting lasted for about one hour. Sources said the meeting was at the instance of the Afenifere leaders. “Tinubu has told them that he would meet with them in their homes, but the elders told him they would bury the hatchet by visiting him at home which they did”, a source told Irohinoodua.
The older Afenifere represent the closest aides of the late sage, Chief Awolowo who passed away at the age of 78 in 1987. They remain the oldest of all the surviving generation of Awo’s closest political associates. Afenifere and Tinubu fell apart in the run-up to the 2003 elections, but ideology and perspectives on the best strategy for the Yoruba renaissance have always put a barrier between the two formations which partly led to the emergence of Afenifere Renewal Group. (ARG), led by Mr. Wale Osun.
In the last election, the Afenifere supported the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and the candidacy of ousted former President Goodluck Jonathan. The group appears to have hinged its support on the presumption that the ousted President would restructure Nigeria and guarantee self determination.
In the past few weeks, there have been renewed efforts to unite the various Yoruba interest groups which culminated in the Col. Adekunle Fajuyi memorial where the various tendencies, for a long time in recent memory, spoke with one voice. Observers think while the meeting with Tinubu was significant, it may not lead to any political or economic milestone for the Yoruba nation which appears in dare need of a new generation of selfless leaders propelled by the genuine interest of a first class race that has been pushed into the dungeon by year of misrule and poverty of ideas by those who claim to represent the Yoruba interests. The region in recent times has been plunged into an all time low in terms of industrialization, education and gainful employment. The region, unlike before is now home to millions of jobless youths, high crime rate, kidnapping, the astronomical rise in street cultism, insecurity of lives and moral decadence being the direct consequences. The degree of despair seems to have been demonstrated in the last election when less than 30 percent of the voting population took part in the elections, the worst in the region’s half a decade of electoral history. Education, the region’s pride has gone down the drain with Lagos and Ekiti State rate as sixth and eleventh in the recently released results of the West African Examination Council, (WAEC). Mr Akinbode Ogunade an official of the Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC) told Irohinoodua that he foresees a new Yoruba nation ‘emerging after a revolution to cleanse a rotten system.’
By Ahmed Olubodun