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Leadership tussle tears YCE apart

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By Ola Ajayi

IBADAN—THINGS appear to have fallen apart within the apex Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, following the controversy that trailed the appointment of Col. Samuel Agbede (retd) as the president of the association.

The disagreement is between the Secretary General of the association, Dr. Kunle Olajide and some other elders of the council.

While Dr. Olajide maintained that there was never a properly constituted elders meeting where Col. Agbede was unanimously chosen as the president, the president of the council did his choice enjoyed a popular agreement by the elders of the association.

Since the death of the former president, Chief Sofolahan last year, the association has been embroiled in crisis over who wears the mantle of its leadership.

The cold war had been on until the bubble burst when the YCE scribe, Dr. Olajide, spoke with newsmen that the association did not have any leader for now and that the person who is seen as the leader was yet to be declared as the president.

Olajide said Sofolahan died suddenly on March 23, 2018 and attempt to elect a successor to him on June 27, 2018 ended in chaos. It was therefore decided on the same day to appoint ‘an Interim president’, unconstitutional though, to oversee the affairs  of the council briefly.

He said: “Col. Agbede (retd), who had never been a member of the National Executive Council, NEC, before was appointed in the belief that he was not likely to be ambitious and will therefore be able to impartially supervise the election of the new president.

“Unfortunately and unbelievably, he became so ambitious that he has resisted every attempt to elect a new president. He had unwholesome actions, including bringing uniformed bouncers to terrorise members at a meeting. On another occasion, he brought miscreants and thugs to disrupt the meeting of state chairmen.

“At a point, he got five members to pronounce him president and he had insisted he remains president without due process.”

His comments, however, drew the ire of Agbede, who discarded Dr. Olajide’s claims.

He alleged that the YCE scribe was eyeing the position but could not enjoy the support of the other elders.

While justifying the authenticity of his choice by the elders of the council, he noted that they were not divided in their decision to choose him.

Similar crisis erupted shortly before the 2007 general election which led to the suspension of Dr Olajide from the council over some irreconcilable differences.

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