Two eminent leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Senator Ayo Fasanmi and Pa Ayo Adebanjo, have disagreed over the suspension of a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, in connection with his role in the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, in the recently concluded Osun State governorship poll.
The Afenifere, under the leadership of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, had recently suspended Omisore for one year for supporting the APC candidate in the rerun of the governorship election.
But Fasanmi criticised the Yoruba group for the suspension, describing it as laughable.
Punch reports that Fasanmi in a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the Ekiti State chapter of Afenifere, Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae, said the Fasoranti-led Afenifere had no moral right to suspend Omisore for teaming up with a progressive party to win an election.
He said, “The action (Omisore’s suspension) is the most embarrassing action taken by anyone or group since the death of the sage.
“It is laughable and disappointing for anyone to desecrate the hallowed name of Chief (Obafemi) Awolowo with conservative political tendency as being espoused by the Fasoranti and Ayo Adebanjo group that has crossed the red line.
“The spirit of Chief Obafemi Awolowo will never forgive whoever has taken steps to bastardise the legacies he fought for all his life.”
Fasanmi, who was a member of the House of Representatives in 1964/66 and a Senator in 1979/83, said the Fasoranti/Adebanjo group must stop talking on behalf of the Yoruba race.
“They should not put Yoruba race on sale. The Yoruba race is comfortable with the progressives as being represented by the All Progressives Congress, where the Yoruba is having the chunk of appointments, which has never happened even when Chief Obasanjo was president,” he said.
He also wondered what the Afenifere wanted by its anti-Buhari posture, adding that the stand could only pit them against Chief Awolowo and his legacies, which the Yorubas were still proud to associate with.
But Adebanjo, when contacted on the telephone by our correspondent on Saturday, said Fansanmi had no right to speak for Afenifere because he no longer participated in the activities of the group.
He said, “I think Fasanmi is suffering from old age. When last did he attend any Afenifere meeting? What moral right has he to speak for Afenifere? What Afenifere’s function has he taken party in in the last 10 years?
“I don’t want to be involved in controversy with any old man who has lost his bearing. The less talk about Fasanmi, the better. This is not the age when leaders in Yorubaland should engage in who is what. That is not the question now. We want a better country, a better Nigeria.
“Is that what we should be talking about now when the Yoruba race is being oppressed by the northern hegemony?’’
President Muhammadu Buhari had sent emissaries to Omisore to woo him to support the APC candidate in the Osun State governorship rerun held on September 27.
Omisore, having come a distant third position, supported the APC in the rerun and the party won the election which is now a subject of litigation before the election petitions tribunal in the state, Punch reports.