Concerned Leaders of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide (IOOW), on Saturday in Ibadan reaffirmed their confidence in Prof. Banji Akintoye and his Deputy, Prof. Wale Adeniran, to continue as their preferred leaders, following the rejection of their resignation.
They made their positions known at a news conference held at the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Iyaganku, Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akintoye, the Leader of IOOW, a sociocultural organisation championing the cause of the Yorubas, had resigned in the first week of December 2022.
NAN reports that Akintoye was succeeded by Prof. Wale Adeniran, his former Deputy in the struggle, who also resigned as the Chairman in the first week of January, a month after assumption of office.
Chief Femi Afolabi, the IOOW Spokesperson, said the group has revalidated and reaffirmed Akintoye, an Emeritus Professor of History, as the IOOW leader without any reservation.
According to him, it was with a rude shock that we received the letter of resignation of Prof. Akintoye from Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide dated Dec. 5, 2022.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we need to state unequivocally that we reject Prof. Akintoye’s letter of resignation and hereby, revalidate and reaffirm him without reservation as leader,” the group spokesperson said.
Afolabi, supported by other notable leaders at the event, said that they were not unaware of the campaign of calumny by some pseudo Yoruba nationalists.
He said that the pseudo Yoruba nationalists were allegedly paid to destroy the hard earned reputation of Akintoye over alleged “pedestrian allegations”.
According to him, we urge Prof. Akintoye not to despair and dispirited.
“We feel his pains of advancing the Yoruba cause, even in the most inconvenient manner in exile.
“By deploying his meagre resources derived mostly from his pension allowances, stipends from children and occasional royalties from the books authored by him to execute the Yoruba agenda programmes.
“Nevertheless, as a group, we note with utmost gratitude and satisfaction Akintoye’s intellectual engagements. We are equally satisfied and happy with the selfless leadership roles he has played,” he said.
Afolabi recalled that the concerned leaders had converged on Ibadan on Sept. 23, 2022 to celebrate the Yoruba Unity Day in commemoration of the end of Kiriji War, the longest intra-ethnic war in history.
“On that occasion, the IOOW founder, Emeritus Prof. Banji Akintoye, declared the congress open and delivered the keynote address.
“The representatives of almost all Yoruba groups present at that occasion moved a motion for the revalidation and reaffirmation of Akintoye as the undisputed leader of the over 200 groups affiliated to IOOW.
“The motion was passed without any dissent.The question to ask at this juncture, which we consider germane, is whether anything changed from the revalidation and reaffirmation of Akintoye as Leader ? The answer is capital NO,” Afolabi said. (NAN)