AFENIFERE QUO VADIS
by Olufemi Ojo
I read with interest Mr Femi Orebe.s write-up Afenifere Nunc Dimitiis [Lord now let thy servant depart in peace] in the Sunday Nation a couple of Sundays ago. In the write-up he did not sing the nucn dimittis but talked about revamping of Afenifere. He supported the Renewal Group. May be he is one of the initiators of the Group.
There had been many comments on what is going on in Afenifere. Some suggested it should be an umbrella for all Yorubas and schould be separated from politics. Many do not know what is Afenifere and it came about.
During the time Action Group Party was formed, Chief Obafemi Awolowo held some meetings to form the party without any headway. He was about giving up in frustration when Chief Adekunle Ajasin, of blessed memory, suggested that the meeting schould be held at Owo. Chief Awolowo and others agreed. At the Owo meeting the formation of Action Group Party took off. The Action Group Party was really formed at Owo
After the formation of the Action Group, it adopted the Principles andIdeology of FREEDOM FOR ALL AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANT. In translating this to Yoruba for the ordinary people to understand, the late Chief Adisa Akinloye gave it the name Afenifere. It has since been one of the slogans of the Action Group.
After the second coming of the military to politics, all parties were banned. As away of rallying the Awo camp together,Chief Adekunle Ajasin revived Afenifere as a Socio-Political Group. The group teamed up with other groups to form Nadeco to confront the military and quickened the return to civilian rule. After the lifting of ban on politics,Afenifere was used as a platform for forming the Alliance for Democracy_AD. It was under the banner of the group the AD won election in the six states of the South West. The arrangement for the choice of the Presidential Candidate of the AD took place at the De-Rovan hotel in Ibadan under the aegis of Afenifere.
It was that De-Rovan meeting of Afenifere, where Chief Falae was chosen instead of Chief Bola Ige as the flag bearer of the AD in the Presidential election of 1999, that brought into the open the crack in rank and file of Afenifere. Chief and the governors of the AD except the late Chief Adafarati started to boycott Afenifere meetings. They then started the campaign to separate Afenifere from politics. They forgot that they used that platform to become governors. The Yoruba Council of Elders was even formed to checkmate Afenifere.
So to my friend and old school mate Mr Femi Orebe, I say it is not yet possible to sing the nunc-dimittis of Afenifere God willing. Afenifere is a principle, and ideology that has stood the test of time and whose forward-looking policy has benefitted milllions of Nigerians. This why i agree with the professor who wrote to Mr Orebe to suggest that rather than form anew group, the Youths should team-up with the elders to reshape the fortunes of Afenifere. One needs to be a good follower to become a good Leader.
I am greatly amused by the thinking of Chief Ajasin's siblings Tokunbor and Anifowose. In reacting to the view of Chief Fasoranti, by the grace of God, the leader of Afenifere, that they were unreliable because they teamed-up with Chief Tinubu leaving one of the legacies left them by their father. They replied that they imbibed the attributes of reliability honesty and humility of their father. they were leaving the old ones to join the Renewal Group. Their father was as old as Chief Fasoranti when he led Afenifere and became the governor of old Ondo Stste. When Chief Omoboriowo in 1983 asked their father to step down for him, they did notadvise their father to step down for Chief Omoboriowo. Are they now wiser after the event?
At the resent meeting of the Renewal Group at Oshogbo, they planned to mobilise young elements and use the Afenifere platform to capture power in the South West. I wish them luck But they should remember the Yoruba adage that says 'The whip used to flog the first wife, is kept at the room's corner for the bride'.
Obama rose through the ranks to become the elected president of the United States of America. The old ones are still in control of the Democracti Party. His cabinet being assembled include people older than him. The Obama phenomina can be real in Afenifere. Let us all come together to uplift the Yoruba nation. All are welcomed PROVIDED they are ready to imbibe the Principles and Ideology of Afenifere.
Long live Afenifere, Long live Yoruba Nation, Long live Nigeria.
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