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Adesanya’s successor: Tough task for Yoruba

Posted by By INKA FABOWALE, Ibadan, ADESINA AIYEKOTI, RAZAQ BAMIDELE, Lagos, MOSHOOD ADEBAYO, Abeokuta, BOLU-OLU ESHO, Ado-Ekiti and GABRIEL DIKE, Osogbo on 2008/05/02 | Views: 530 |

Adesanya’s successor: Tough task for Yoruba


With the death of Yoruba leader, Pa Abraham Adesanya on Sunday, the search for who would succeed him may have begun to give concerned citizens sleepless nights. As family and associates of the late Afenifere strongman come to grips with the fact of his transition, some top South-West leaders of thought, politicians and many others have set out criteria for the man who would emerge as the next Yoruba leader.


With the death of Yoruba leader, Pa Abraham Adesanya on Sunday, the search for who would succeed him may have begun to give concerned citizens sleepless nights. As family and associates of the late Afenifere strongman come to grips with the fact of his transition, some top South-West leaders of thought, politicians and many others have set out criteria for the man who would emerge as the next Yoruba leader.

They believe that the selection process would be tough not just because of the array of aspirants on the list, but because of the high expectation from such a person.

Speaking with Daily Sun in Ado-Ekiti, former National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere and later National Publicity Secretary of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, said if the late Chief Bola Ige were alive, he would have been the ideal person to take up the mantle as Yoruba leader without any hitch.

“I remember when Chief Obafemi Awolowo died and we had Chief Adekunle Ajasin and then Chief Abraham Adesanya. This does not mean that the two of them measured up to Chief Awo’s stature, but they served and gave their best. When I look around, I only pray that God will give us another leader,” he said.

He, however, believes that Chief Cornelius. O. Adebayo, who he said also suffered during Abacha regime in the course of fighting dictatorship fits the bill. According to him, Chief Adebayo took to the trenches even when he was offered ministerial appointment by Abacha.

As far as the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, is concerned, what the Yoruba need at the moment is a reunion of the progressive factions, which he said would make choosing a leader an easy thing.

In his words: “I think what we need is a real coming together of all the progressive forces. When we do this, we won’t have a problem as to who should lead. In any case, there is a process in place. Pa Adesanya succeeded Ajasin to whom he served as deputy. His own deputy, Bola Ige, died and was replaced. In my own view, he ought to be succeeded by his deputy, in accordance with internal processes.”

Engineer Wole Akinjo, a chieftain of Labour Party in Ondo State, said Yoruba elders should go back to the drawing board and fashion out modality that would first bring all the factions together before looking for a leader among them.
Akinjo said a credible person, who has proven track record must be chosen at a round table conference of all Yoruba elders.

For a chieftain of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Ondo State, Engineer Ade Adetimehin, the position of Yoruba, leader should not be filled in a hurry, so that a wrong person is not chosen.
The politician stated that Yoruba, as a nation, needed somebody who would work to reconcile all the warring factions so as to move the race forward.

Speaking in the same vein, the only Alliance for Democracy (AD) legislator in the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Abiodun Ogunbi, urged Yoruba leaders to use the death of Pa Adesanya as rallying point for unity.

Ogunbi specifically noted that the late Pa Adesanya was a great nationalist who all Yoruba should see as a role model and reference point.
To the Deputy National Chairman of the Labour Party, Dr. Joseph Akinlaja, filling the vacuum of the late politician would be a great task.
He pointed out that whoever wants to succeed Adesanya must be dedicated and committed to the unity of the entire Yoruba race.

Former PDP South West Vice Chairman, Senator Yinka Omilani, told Daily Sun that there are qualities which a new leader must possess and that it is better to allow one to emerge than to rush and select a new Yoruba leader that would not meet the expectations of the people.

Senator Omilani said for the past five years, Pa Adesanya was not functioning as the Afenifere leader and his lieutenant steered the ship without any problem, adding that with many of them queuing up, one would emerge to led the people.

For the former Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, there are many Yoruba people waiting to succeed Pa Adesanya. He, however, stressed the fact that such an individual must be mature in age and experience.

“Any of the aspiring leader who believes in the narrow definition of DPA (party) cannot succeed him. We are going to have a successor. Anybody who takes over from him must exhibit his qualities and principles and must not destroy his fellow leaders.

There will be no problem of selecting a new leader. There are many of them and Yoruba people believe in age, maturity and experience,” Babatope said.
The Osun State Action Congress (AC) chairman, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, said Pa Adesanya’s death would throw open another era of leaders. He observed that Afenifere constitution states that his deputy should take over, hoping that with two factions, the process would not lead to another face-off.
Adeoti, however, noted that it would be a straight fight between Senator Ayo Fasanmi and Chief Reuben Fasoranti and that there might be a problem in the selection process.

While the Osun State chairman of ANPP, Alhaji Sule Alao, believes that leaders are born, he added that the Yoruba leaders would make a good choice. He said that the death of Pa Adesanya has created a vacuum, which would be difficult to fill.
Adeoti advised that Yoruba leaders, in selecting Adesanya’s successor, must forget about political affiliation and think about the unity of Yoruba nation.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere chieftain, said the next Yoruba leader should not only be courageous, but also honest and consistent. Adebanjo does not envisage a problem in choosing a new Yoruba leader, because, as he puts it, “there is a Yoruba leader already. Papa Adesanya himself appointed him, (Chief Reuben Fasoranti) as an acting Yoruba leader. If anybody says the office of an acting leader is not in Afenifere’s constitution, I believe such a person must be just an individual.”
Others who spoke include:

Mr Yinka Odumakin – (National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere)
“An ideal Yoruba leader we are expecting must be someone who can exhibit courageous habit like Pa Abraham Adesanya himself. He must be honest and bold, as the late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo and his successor, Pa Adekunle Ajasin.

He must be a man with dignity, somebody you can go to battle with and he will not sell out. He must be ready for sacrifice for the collective interest of all. But it is premature now to start mentioning names.”
Former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State said the Yoruba must turn to God to give them a befitting successor to the late Adesanya.

“Yoruba are known to be very meticulous about who leads them. I suggest we put everything in prayer and ask God to give us a leader,” he said.
Former Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mrs Hairat Balogun, argued that Yoruba race is blessed with many leaders and that it was difficult to just single out one person.

“Leadership is something that is thrust upon you. You don’t set out to be a leader. In fact, you set out to excel. It’s all wrong looking for a leader. All the elders should congregate themselves and agree that they are all Yoruba leaders,” she said, while describing Pa Adesanya as a thorough leader.

Hon Wale Oshun, (former House of Representatives member)
That should be left to the body of Afenifere to decide. We expect a selfless leader as well. He should be bold, courageous and very insightful and thoughtful. We certainly need a bold and courageous person.

Dr Lateef Adegbite (Secretary General, Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)
We have to source for one because it involves a lot of consideration. What is most important is credibility. When we say that, we mean a proper and intensive search for a credible leader. An intensive search has to be conducted. And there are many things to be taken into consideration. We have to check his track records, uprightness and fearlessness. And he must be one that must be acceptable to all segments of Yoruba race. He must not be someone who is pushing himself.

Ambassador Segun Olusola
We must now look at the rank of our traditional rulers. These are people who the Lord has anointed and who have been subjected to scrutiny by the public.
I am not talking of politician, in the sense of the people who have declared themselves a politicians. I am saying that in Yorubaland, there are a number of traditional rulers who are credible and command respect.

Chief Gani Adams, (National Coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC)
Well, the leadership of Yoruba always comes naturally. It is not a partisan issue. When you are talking of Yoruba leadership, it is a natural thing.
Look at Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was not the Action Group (AG) that endorsed him as leader. His endorsement as leader came from non-partisan people.
So, let us wait for God’s time because God almighty has a way to crown a Yoruba leader.
Hon. Dauda Kako Are, (Member, House of Reps, Mushin 1 Constituency, Lagos)
I wholly support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the position. I say this because those who earlier occupied the position were picked because of their achievements. In this connection, I think Tinubu’s credentials make him most suitable for that position. Yoruba have a way of choosing their leader, I think Tinubu will naturally emerge through this system.

Senator Tony Adefuye, (AC chieftain)
The usual thing is for the position to go to the second in command. These people are there, I support the next in command to the late Pa Adesanya being picked from the Afenifere hierarchy.

Hon. Bukola Olopade (Ogun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports)
If you look at what is happening in Ogun State you will, no doubt, support me in nominating Gov. Gbenga Daniel for the position. This is a man who has displayed unparalleled leadership among his people. He deserves the position. Aside this, Ogun State has always been in the lead in terms of producing good leadership anywhere, any day. So, I’m totally in support of Daniel.
On the style of emergence, I think Yoruba should decide, but I’m sure it’ll be Daniel.

Senator Lekan Mustapha
Papa was a rallying point for all us. His relationship cut across political leaning across the country. As much as I want to say it will be difficult to find a replacement for him, I want to add that it will also be difficult for me to name his successor. But in the Afenifere, where he belonged, there are good number of eminently qualified persons who can step into his shoes. It will be out of place for me to name anyone.

Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka (ex-deputy governor)
There is already a successor. Baba Reuben Fasoranti was the acting leader. So it’s naturally automatic that he becomes the defacto leader. Although it is difficult to find the same personality, Baba Fasoranti possesses some good virtues of our late leader, Pa Adesanya
.
Chief Aderenle Oyenekan
God chooses his own. I know a more vibrant leader who will emulate some good virtues of our late leader would emerge in no distant future within the Afenifere fold.

Alhaji Isiaka Odusanya
It is too hasty to talk of successor for Afenifere. After giving a befitting funeral for our leader, the issue of who succeeds him would not be a difficult thing as your question suggests.
Mr Dayo Omotoso (senior special assistant (Political Affairs) to Oyo State governor)
The intrigues and wrangling among the old men makes it difficult to say who would lead the race and Afenifere. I think it is left for the Yoruba people to determine which of the two groups i.e Afenifere and the YCE, is actually representing their interest. If they want to remain relevant, they really need to put their house in order.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.