Yoruba Confab In Ikenne

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The pan Yoruba summit going on at Efunyela Hall in Ikenne Remo, the homestead of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, further revealed the disunity among the Yoruba race as political leaders mostly in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and PPN, dominated the proceedings at the meeting.

None of the sitting governors in Yorubaland presently under the umbrella of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, attended the meeting.

The past governors under the platform of the PDP did not attend either. Only former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel strolled in and left a few minutes later.

Answering questions from reporters, Daniel attributed the lopsided attendance to disunity among the Yoruba.

“The totality of what is happening is a challenge to all of us to brainstorm on how to move the Yoruba race forward,” Daniel told reporters without a clear-cut answer as to why he left the meeting in a haste.

Some of the Yoruba sons who attended the meeting include: Prof. Mrs. Adenike Grange, a former minister, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, (retd.), Daniel’s ex-deputy, Alhaja Salmot Badru, Senator Anthony Adefuye, former Lagos State deputy governor, Kofoworota Akerele-Bucknor, businessman Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, founder, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and Otunba Gani Adams.

The meeting was hosted by the matriarch of the Awolowo family, Chief Mrs. Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo and was chaired by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II.

As at the time of going to press, no leader of the ACN had shown up at the summit.

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There was no official reason why the meeting was dominated by the PDP politicians. But a source told P.M.NEWS that it might not be unconnected with the age-long rivalry between the progressives and reactionary camps in Yoruba politics.

The Alaafin of Oyo and Permanent Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, yesterday disowned the conference.

The monarch said “I cannot be part of a political jamboree that is organized in the interest of a few, to the detriment of the larger Yoruba nation.

“I do not believe quite honestly, that this is a time that the Yoruba should converge for any inaugural conference.”

The monarch called on Yoruba leaders to refrain from statements or gathering that promote division in the country, adding “that is the kind of cleavage that the organisers of the conference seek to promote.”

“We should refrain from any gathering capable of suggesting that we are up to anything sinister and thus put the lives of our people in other places both within the country and in the Diaspora, in danger.”

He added: “Those masquerading as Yoruba leaders are the permanent government contractors whose influence are waning politically and who now want to use this kind of conference as leverage to continue their politics of the stomach.”

—Alex Akinyele & Abiodun Onafuye/Ikenne