Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
Mixed reactions have trailed the election of Prof Adebanji Akintoye as a new Yoruba leader with a larger percentage describing it as a huge joke.
While speaking with Saturday Vanguard in a telephone conversation, Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, a former National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy and a prominent Yoruba leader described the decision of the group as a round peg in a round hole.
He said, “Prof Akintoye is an eminent Nigerian and a complete Yoruba man. In as much as the election or selection cuts across various groups in the Yoruba nation, I think he deserves it”.
But to Dr Kunle Olajide, the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, he feels though, in a democratic setting, there is freedom of association and expression, the handful people that took the decision went too far.
“In a democratic setting, there is freedom of association and expression as long as you do not breach the law of the land. But, for a group of people to arrogate themselves to an extent of appointing a leader for the Yoruba nation, they went too far”.
“For a handful of people to come together without inviting eminent people and elected a leader for the whole Yoruba nation, it is very unacceptable.”
“For such a decision to be respected, it must have the inputs of political, business, cultural and professional leaders. Prof Akintoye is a foremost Yoruba man who we all respect. But, I think he will not let himself into such a joke. You do not trivialize Yoruba leadership. Not by a handful of people.”
“You saw how Yoruba summit was organised and the calibre of people that attended. Nobody deliberated on that. For such election to hold water, it must include all these sectors. I’m sure the decision would be embarrassed Prof Akintoye himself because he was not there”.
They are all jokers-Barrister Adebayo Shittu
Reacting to the story, the immediate past Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu said a leader with such heavy responsibilities is not elected but he would emerge as a result of his contribution to the Yoruba nation.
“They are all jokers. It’s not possible. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was he elected? No, he emerged because of his contributions to the Yoruba nation. Most of them are PDP apologists. We should just ignore them.”
“Looking at it from a religious angle, 99 per cent of them at the meeting are Christians. They deliberately excluded Muslims. We pray that a true Yoruba leader will emerge as Obafemi Awolowo emerged”, Shittu prayed.
Comrade Mashood Erubami, human right activist and the convener of Votas Assembly simply said, “I don’t know anything about it”.
Also, a prominent Yoruba leader who preferred anonymity said, ” Do you think, people like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would accept that. Do you think Tinubu’s numerous loyalists would respect him(Akintoye) a professor who doesn’t have enough financial muscle”.
“If Tinubu does not support his election, what the group had done is a mere jamboree that would soon fizzle out”, the source said.