There’s no division in Afenifere – Ebiseni, Secretary

Sola Ebiseni

Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General of Yoruba socio-political organisation Afenifere, claimed in an interview with Arise TV, which was monitored by SEGUN ADEWOLE, that Afenifere remains one despite its most recent troubles

Akure meeting not an Afenifere meeting

The meeting in Akure was not an Afenifere meeting, but it was a blessing to both Afenifere and Pa Fasoranti. I’ll tell you this: in Pa Fasoranti’s house, we have a tradition. When an important guest is to visit Fasoranti, he will call some of us, his immediate political children, some of us who are residents in Ondo State. I have been there several times.

My links with the Fasoranti family


By the way, I am almost like a member of the Fasoranti family. He trained my children, and they lived in his house. My children went to his school, and the boarding house for his school is just a gate that separates it from his residence. My children lived with him. I know the inner workings of Pa Fasoranti’s house. When there was an important guest to visit Baba, he would call some of us around. The normal faces we see are Chief Olu Falae, Bashorun Olugbafa, Chief Korede Duyile, and some of us within the place; we will welcome the guest. That does not translate to an Afenifere meeting.

Akure meeting a blessing in disguise

Why do I say it is a blessing in disguise? Pa Fasoranti was appointed leader of Afenifere in November 2008, on the death of Abraham Adesanya. It was in that same year that those who went to Fasoranti today separated from Afenfiere and formed what they call the Afenifere Renewal Group and never had anything to do with Pa Fasoranti throughout his reign from November 2008 to March 16, 2021. They never had anything to do with him, as a matter of fact; they set up several dissident organisations to supplant his leadership. How is that a blessing?

Fasoranti the rejected cornerstone

On Saturday thereabout, they now came to the same Fasoranti they never accepted as a leader. They worshipped at his altar, removed their caps, and allowed him to place his hands on them in repentance. What they have come to do is repentance. What they have come to do is admit that they erred. Normally, Fasoranti invited some of the people that sat with him. It was not an Afenifere meeting. How is it therefore a blessing to Afenfiere? Before now, the impression had been created that Afenifere was not relevant in the scheme of things; Afenifere could not dictate for Yoruba; Afenifere could not do this or that. However, surreptitiously, they are going through the background to seek the face of the same Afenfiere because they know that the soul of the Yoruba nation resides in Afenifere.

How Fasoranti handed over to Adebanjo

In 2015, Pa Fasoranti wrote to resign. It was this same group of people that harassed the old man to the point of giving up. Fasoranti is an old, retired principal who mentored so many people, and he has the appeal of a Pope; he cannot hurt anyone. It got to a stage where he could no longer take the nonsense from these people who (later) came to him in recompense, and he said he was giving it up. He tendered his letter of resignation, saying he could not have it any longer. It was Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi, and co. that came around and said, “No, you are our leader, stay. Don’t allow these dissidents to force you out of office. His resignation was never accepted by his lieutenants.

How Fasoranti chose Adebanjo

On March 16, 2021, Chief Fasoranti invited all of us to a general meeting of Afenifere, which would have been held on the 30th of March, being the last Tuesday. We were all there. Everybody was shocked. Baba started reading a prepared speech to us, and towards the end, if I could quote him right, he said Chief Ayo Adebanjo stood out because of his efforts as a staunch member of the Afenifere, whose name is now virtually synonymous with Afenifere, a defender of the Yoruba course, and an avatar of the Awolowo school of thought. He (then) set a task before us. Baba (Fasoranti) mentioned why a section of the country from the north would consistently want to monopolise power, against the south, which had been resisting.

 At 95, I am unable to continue. To that end, I have found a man who has been in the trenches all his life. Chief Ayo Adebanjo now takes over from me, and he will be assisted by a deputy, Oba Olaitan. He charged us, saying, “Please, give them more support, as you have given me. But I remain Afenifere for life.

How decision-making works in Afenifere

Baba never said I would remain the Afenifere leader, or whatever else they are quoting now. And since then, the structure of Afenifere has been that decisions are taken at three major levels. The national executive committee that prepares the agenda for the national caucus, and then the general meeting of Afenifere, which is its congress. From that day on, all meetings shifted to Ayo Adebanjo, at whose instance those meetings were held, and he presided over those meetings in his house.

Fasoranti didn’t change meeting venue

A lot of statements were credited to Baba, and while they were going viral, in order not to destroy Afenifere, Baba now issued a statement through his Personal Assistant, whom we regard as his son. The statement said it had come to the attention of Baba that some statements credited to him were appearing in a section of the media, particularly on social media. Baba wishes to say that he never said Chief Ayo Adebanjo is no longer the acting leader of Afenifere, nor did he say meetings should come back to Akure.

Akure parley wasn’t an Afenifere meeting

As I told you, the meeting that was held was not an Afenifere meeting. The notice of that meeting was issued in the name of a WhatsApp group, Conscience of Yoruba Nation. Those who expressed political inclination at any time were gathered in the WhatsApp group and my brother, Kola Omololu, said he was the Director General. He issued a meeting and told people that we are going to hold a meeting in respect of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidency, and Pa Fasoranti has agreed to preside over the meeting. The duration of that meeting was 11am to 1pm, two hours. My brother, I told you here that there was one that was debated from July 29, 2021, to September 27, 2022; 14 months of debate compared to two hours of jamboree. Is that an endorsement? Baba has the power to bless anyone. I give you an example. In 2019, Afenifere endorsed Atiku Abubakar. Several others still came and Baba prayed for them.

Why Afenifere endorsed Peter Obi

Fasoranti, in his handover speech, said one of the tasks confronting us is to stop a section of the country from dominating Nigeria. Look at the domination from Shehu Shagari, Yar’adua to Buhari. Can’t you see a section of the country? And if you come to the south, you see it from Shonekan, Obasanjo, and professor Osinbajo down the line, and you now say Yoruba lo kan? How do you run a country like that?

What will happen in 2023

Let me tell you what will happen in 2023. If the presidential candidate of the PDP wins, you will have created an impression in this country that, notwithstanding your feelings, a person of northern extraction can be president of Nigeria no matter what anybody says. If the presidential candidate of the APC wins, you will now have a trajectory of rotation between the Yoruba and the Fulani. Peter Obi’s candidacy is a revolution to change Nigeria. It is part of the restructuring that Nigeria will be restructured in such a way that every ethnic nationality will have a sense of belonging.

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