Sunday, November 1, 2015 9:01 pm
By Funsho Arogundade.
Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has said that the body has lost focus and its goals eroded just as he announced the resignation of his leadership position on Sunday.
The octogenarian noted that the group was formed to serve as an umbrella to be used to actualize the dream of a great nation and the Yoruba race. But as events have been unfolding in the past few years, the focus and goals of the founding fathers of “our great organization ‘Afenifere’ were gradually eroded,” he stated in his letter of resignation addressed to the group’s Secretary General, Seinde Arogbofa.
Fasoranti lamented that the erosion of the common focus and goals of the organisation have equally made it difficult for members to work in unity. “Several efforts were made to ensure the actualisation of the Afenifere goals, but it appeared that we have not succeeded in achieving this. This is basically due to reasons best known to our members individually,” he stated.
In view of that, the elder statesman, who became the leader of the group after the death of Senator Abraham Adesanya, said he had ceased being the chairman of the organization with immediate effect. “Considering my age, efforts and selfless dedication to my country, my state (Ondo), my political parties, my past leaders and my members in Afenifere both in Nigeria and in Diaspora, I hereby wish to inform you all that I have decided to step aside as leader of our great organisation Afenifere,” he said.
In the letter which was also copied to other leaders of the group such as Chiefs Ayo Adebanjo, Lanihun Ajayi, Olu Falae, Supo Sonibare and all state chairmen of Afenifere, Fasoranti recalled a brief history of the group from its formation in 1951 under the leadership of the late sage Obafemi Awolowo.
“Over the years, Yorubas have tried to focus on a common goal. Chief Awolowo tried to ensure the oneness of our people with a lot of efforts notwithstanding the challenges he faced in the process. Unfortunately, he passed on without actualising this dream,” he said.
Pa Fasoranti joined Afenifere from inception with the following Yoruba leaders; Pa Solanke Onasanya, Alhaji Ganiyu Daodu, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sir Olanihun Ajayi, Chief Sam Sonibare, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire and many others.
Afenifere under the leadership of Fasoranti suffered a number of contradictions as several of its members found new voices in different political parties. The emergence of the All Progressives Congress and the anti-national conference posture of its leaders including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, did not help the Afenifere agenda. The group then faced harsh criticisms from some Yoruba leaders for expressing their open support for immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan.
The focus of the Afenifere group, as it concerns the confab report, include the restructuring of the country’s federal system, which would see the devolution of power from the federal to state governments. Fasoranti said the adoption of the national conference report had always been a focus and goal of the Afenifere group even long before the confab was set up by the last administration.
He said on this premise, the group’s backing of President Goodluck Jonathan was not a mistake.
“The support of a leader who promised to implement this report was therefore not a mistake and inevitable despite all public insinuations,” he said.