Dr. Kunle Olajide, Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders and the Aare of Efon Kingdom, in this interview with Vanguard, described his purported suspension as a huge joke. He also explains why the South-West is currently being pummeled by security challenges. Excerpts:
It was recently in the news that you have been suspended as the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders. What’s your reaction to this?
I’m going to answer your question with a question. By who? Who were those who suspended me? A bunch of relatively unknown members of our council. I called the suspension a huge joke that was taken too far. It is like squatters issuing quit notice to the landlord, which cannot be sustained anywhere.
It’s a pity we lost our last president, March last year and we thought it would be unfair to immediately elect another one, because he served only for one year; Chief Idowu Shofala, SAN, he succeeded General Adebayo. He served for one year and he was very diligent and very competent, so we thought to do his memory some honour.
It was necessary for us to allow an interregnum…. so we appointed one of our members, Colonel Agbede who was never a member of any executive before, he was never a member of a State Executive Council or a National Exco, he had never been a member of any executive so he was appointed interim president, in the mode of perhaps, a regent, to oversee the affairs of the organisation, until we elect a substantive president. Nobody could have imagined he would have become too ambitious.
We are a registered organisation with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We have a constitution, so we are not just a floating organisation. It’s only the National Exco or a congress that can elect a president. We only held two meetings since he was elected and the meetings really ended in chaos because his mode of conducting meetings can be compared to a drunken sailor on the high seas and the meetings ended in chaos. And we have not met since last year.
He had done everything humanly possible to stall the possibility of convening an Executive Council meeting and he did everything to persuade me to support him and I said: ’’Look, I have nothing against you personally but we must follow due process. Due process says, the Executive that appointed you as interim should be the same executive that will either confirm or elect a new president.
You don’t impose yourself.” But he went and picked a few sycophants that he sustained with some pittance/ stipends, and he gathered them together and penultimate Friday, I mean, any notable Yoruba leader would have been at the launching of the biography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Yoruba language, you know, except the leader was otherwise occupied.
We were at that function, we had a few state chairmen with us, Alaafin was there, Ooni of Ife was represented, Olubadan, everybody. And when I got home, I had series of calls, even from BBC, that I have been suspended. It was news to me and I asked ‘’by who?’’ They said Colonel Agbede and mentioned a number of unknown, relatively unknown names in Yorubaland.
So, I did not want to react immediately because I wanted to see the release. When I saw the release the day after, I wrote a reaction, which I titled: My suspension, a huge joke taken too far.
And I recall, as I told you earlier, that it’s like squatters issuing quit notice to landlords so, for me, it does not hold water, it cannot be sustained, it is illegal, there is no senior elder’s forum in Yoruba Council of Elders, we have our constitution, which is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
We don’t stratify elders. If you are a male, as soon as you’re above 60, you are qualified to be a member. A female, 50 and above, qualified. And that’s all. And everybody is a member.