By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
A group of eminent Yoruba leaders under the aegis of the Yoruba Global Alliance (YG) has called on Yoruba people at home and abroad to rally around Pa Ayo Adebanjo as he takes over leadership of Afenifere.
It thanked the former leader, Pa Reuben Fasonranti, for his years of service and wished him long life and robust health in his retirement.
Adebanjo took over leadership of the apex Yoruba organisation after 95-year-old Fasonranti voluntarily stepped down on Tuesday, citing old age.
YG described Adebanjo as ‘a true and genuine Awoist with a track record of struggle, sacrifice and success,’ and urged the Yoruba at home and in the diaspora to support the new leader, and noted that ‘it is a privilege for all those alive’ to witness the ascension of Pa Ayo Adebanjo as leader of the Yoruba.
It said, ‘Afenifere, the pioneer Yoruba group in the history of Nigeria remains the most consistent and most disciplined Yoruba group in the past 70 years and it is a privilege for all those alive to witness the ascension of Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a true and genuine Awoist with a track record of struggle, sacrifice and success. YG wants Yoruba people at home and abroad to note that in all his life, Pa Ayo Adebanjo has never justled for a position nor sought cheap popularity, rather he has always worked hard, sticking to principles and ideals without compromise and remaining consistent even when those ideas and principles appear unpopular with many.’
YG, led by emeritus Pro-Chancellor/Chairman Ondo State University of Science & Technology, Dr Amos Akingba, said this in a congratulatory message signed by its Chairman of Council, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, a former Chairman MD Daily Times Conglomerate and former Federal Permanent Secretary in the Presidency and Secretary-General, Prof Anthony Kila, after an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
The message added: ‘Chief Ayo Adebanjo is a trustworthy man that never ran away, never gave up and never pretended to be what he is not. YG uses the eminently deserved elevation to admonish Yoruba people at home and abroad to use Pa Ayo Adebanjo as a reference and benchmark of leadership and to be wary of fake self-serving and self-proclaimed leaders and work with leaders with a track record of consistency and verifiable landmark achievements. YG remains hugely indebted to Pa Reuben Fasonranti for leading the Yoruba nation this far and wishes him longer life and robust health in his retirement.’