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How Tinubu Divided Afenifere

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By Eric Elezuo

It was not expected since most arrangements were legit in the body of the pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere. Beginning with the official stepping down of the erstwhile leader of the group, Pa Reuben Faroranti in March 2021 and the handing over of the leadership of the group to Chief Ayo Adebanjo, everything seems perfect, and there appeared to be no rancour.

Fasoranti had said during the handover that the development became necessary “as the group needs more than ever before to have an improved organisation with more effective approach to combat the monstrous invasion of our culture and pride as a people.

“Only a more alike and active leadership can achieve this. At 95, I am hardly able to provide such and so, it is time for me to step aside.

“At this junction, I am proud to announce Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a politician of the Awolowo school of thought as acting leader of Afenifere and His Royal Highness, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, the Alaago of Kajola Ago in Atakumosa East Local Government Area, as the Deputy Leader.”

The fragile peace was however, to be destabilised following the endorsement of the Labour Party candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi by the pan-Yoruba. While it was believed that the endorsement received the support of the members of the group, or at least a majority, the visit of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to Fasoranti in his Akure residence proved otherwise.

Justifying the group’s endorsement of Peter Obi, Adebanjo revealed during a press conference in Lagos that the group would not compromise the principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because Tinubu is a Yoruba man.

“The South-West has produced a President and currently sits as Vice President; the South-South has spent a total of six years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.

“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria while we, at the same time, continue to brutally marginalise and exclude them from the power dynamics.

“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back; he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.

“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is a frontline candidate. It is on this same principle we condemn the Peoples Democratic Party for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim,” Adebanjo said.

Rather than accepting the decision of the Afenifere, Tinubu and his campaign organisation derided Adebanjo, saying he did speak for the Yoruba. Tinuba was to collect a harmful of Yoruba leaders and supporters, and visited the now retired Pa Fasoranti. To the shock of everyone, Fasoranti blessed Tinubu, and declared him endorsed by Afenifere. He later claimed that he was still the leader of Afenifere, and never resigned as Adebanjo claimed. His claims created a wide in the relative peace hitherto enjoyed by group.

Speaking to The Boss on the ensuing crisis as the two leaders engaged each other in a war of words, a political commentator, who craved anonymity said he was not surprised at the outcome of the whole thing. He said he knew Tinubu was not going to give up even as he knew the position of Afenifere.

“He is not the type to give up without causing a ruckus. He knew as a strategist that the only he could have a chance was to create holes in the Afenifere, and divide it, if possible into tiny bits. That is his stock and trade. If he can’t have it; he will destroy. That is just just typical Tinubu. Just look at the Yoruba Nation Movement; that is his next port of call,” he said.

Much as it was a known fact that leaders of the group held divergent opinions about the way forward in the current political dispensation, their disagreement has remained muffled till Tinubu’s visit to Akure, Ondo State.

“It was not just a visit; it was a masterstroke meant to destabilise the fragile Afenifere unity. And Tinubu and his group quite achieved their aim. Today, Afenifere is in disarray, and that is the basic intention,” the source added.

While Adebanjo has argued that a Tinubu presidency was not in the interest of peace and equity in Nigeria, Fasoranti and his camp gave said that a Tinubu presidency would “usher in a new era of hope, peace, security, harmony, gainful employment for the multitude, economic development, social and political stability,” according a statement by the National Organising Secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu

As the brouhaha lingers, Fasoranti was to appear in a televised interview by Impact TV Africa, stating categorically that he neither resigned nor retired as the leader of Afenifere. A statemnet Adebabnjo objected to, and said he was disappointment.

Stressing that he was still the leader of Afenifere at 96, Fasoranti said “I didn’t resign or retire from leadership. I was misunderstood. I think the best thing is to correct that,” he said

He added, “As you can see, the trend, the approval and the acceptability. You could see what happened when Tinubu came to meet me in Akure. The media carried the whole thing.

“Adebanjo does not have the capacity to warn me not to welcome Tinubu. Can he do that successfully?

“What happened was that Adebanjo took a stand and I took a stand. I didn’t call him and he didn’t call me. We never spoke about the visit.

“As you saw yesterday, it goes without saying that Jagaban was accepted. Obi has no stand in our mind at all.”

In response, Adebanjo, who was not at the meeting in Akure, said he was not ready to enter into any controversy over the decision taken at the meeting.

“In the first place, I was not supposed to be there. In the second place, we have made our position clear. Pa Fasoranti asked me if I was coming, I said if he asked me to come, but (I asked him to) tell him (Tinubu) what the position of Afenifere is. Once he has done that, I’m not going into any controversy about that.

“Afenifere has taken a stance to support Obi. Any other splinter or rebel group…I’m not going into any controversy about that. I regard that as a diversion. What we are going to do now is see that we succeed at the election.”

In the wake of the visit, Fasoranti is claiming that never retired, but still the leader of Afenifere and Adebanjo’s  position as acting leader is no longer tenable, while Adebanjo is maintaining that he remains the leader as Fasoranti has retired owing to old age, and therefore has no the power to remove him as he was just an ordinary member of the organisation.

“He has no right, constitutionally or otherwise, to do so. He’s functus officio (no longer in office.) He has resigned and is just an ordinary member of the party.

“Once he has handed over to me, I am the de facto leader of Afenifere. I won’t make it a controversy at all. Let him test his position wherever.

“Where does he derive his authority? Is Afenifere a monarchy? It’s a pity that in his old age he’s being led astray.

“Have you heard of somebody who is out of a process now saying he’s coming back again? It’s a pity he’s making himself a laughing stock,” Adebanjo said.

Again, Fasoranti hinted that the meetings of the group will return to Akure once he converses with the secretary, as meetings are always held at the leader’s country home. Prior to now, meetings were held at Ogbo, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

“Yes, that’s the best. The reason the meeting was shifted from here was a misunderstanding, misinterpretation and misconception of some people that I was going senile and that I couldn’t comprehend. So, when I heard that, I reacted and the person who said that regretted saying so. So, no problem,” Fasoranti said.

In response, a livid Adbanjo retorted that “He has no right to say anything about Afenifere, he has resigned. All the powers and authorities of Afenifere have been vested in me. That’s what I’m saying. I’ve never heard of where somebody who resigned from a political party said he was coming back again.”

But in all these, stakeholders have wondered why Afenifere was able to manage its affairs successfully until Tinubu came into the picture. The group, formed as a socio-cultural organization for the Yoruba people of Nigeria, with Chief Abraham Adesanya as its leader and Chief Bola Ige as deputy leader has other founding members as Pa Onasanya, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Adegbonmire, Okurounmu Femi, Ganiyu Dawodu, Olanihun Ajayi, Olu Falae, Adebayo Adefarati, Alhaji Adeyemo and Ayo Adebanjo. The Alliance for Democracy (AD), formed in 1998, took the Afenifere agenda as its official manifesto.

Cracks appeared on the walls of the group following a poor performance of AD in the April 2003 elections, and there arose a faction, which elected Adebisi Akande was chairman. The crisis degenerated, and in January 2006, the convoy of AD leaders who supported Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa as the party’s national chairman was attacked by thugs in Osogbo, Osun State.

Shortly after, Tinubu pulled out of AD and formed the Action Congress of Nigeria with Akande. This was a move the Adebanjo group considered as a betrayal. Henceforth, the AD died a natural death while Tinubu’s ACN continued to strive across Yorubaland. There is therefore, no love lost between the Adebanjo camp and the Tinubu camp.

“The betrayal of Tinubu against the group remains the bad blood flowing between the two camps till today, and explains why Adebanjo is not interested in the Tinubu presidency. The visit to Akure by Tinubu, however he managed to convince Fasoranti to receive him including the endorsement of Peter Obi are chapters derived from the script of 2003,” another source told The Boss

He added, “Tinubu left Afenifere long ago, and his reappearance today is just to destroy, or at the least divide the group,” he added.

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Sanusi Remains Emir, Says Kano Govt, Orders Removal of Bayero from Nasarawa Palace

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The Kano State Government has directed the state’s Commissioner of Police to remove the 15th Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, from the Nasarawa mini palace.

The state government claimed that Thursday’s judgement by a Federal High Court was in its favour, affirming the state government’s decision to reinstate Emir Lamido Sanusi.

The court nullified the Kano Emirate Council (Amendment No. 2) Law, 2024, that scrapped four of the five emirate councils of the state last month and removed all the five emirs, including Aminu Ado-Bayero of Kano.

The judge, Abdullahi Liman, ruled that the appointment of Mr Sanusi as Kano emir was null and void because the government failed to obey the court order restraining it from taking further action on the new emirate council law.

The judge described Governor Yusuf’s speech during the presentation of the reappointment letter to Mr Sanusi as a road to anarchy, saying that if a court order cannot be respected despite evidence of service, then the government was heading to chaos.

He voided all the actions taken by the governor after the court order, including the signing of the new emirate law and subsequent appointment of Mr Sanusi as emir, and ordered all parties in the case to maintain the status quo.

But in a swift response, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Haruna Dederi, in a press conference, said the court ruling was in their favour and Mr Sanusi remains the emir.

He said the government has already concluded arrangements for the general reconstruction and renovation of the property, including the demolition and reconstruction of the dilapidated wall fence of the Nasarawa palace with immediate effect.

“Following this court’s ruling, Kano State Government has directed the State Commissioner of Police to remove the deposed emir of the 8 metropolitan local governments from the government property where he is trespassing as the government has already concluded arrangements for the general reconstruction and renovation of the property including the demolishing and reconstruction of the dilapidated wall fence with immediate effect.

“By the ruling of the court, it has unequivocally reaffirmed the validity of the law passed by Kano State House of Assembly and assented to by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Kano State on Thursday, 23rd May 2024 by 5:10 p.m.

“This part of the judgement is very fundamental to the entire matter. Further implication of the ruling is that all actions done by the government before the emergence of the interim order of the honourable court, are equally validated.

“This means that the abolishing of the five emirates created in 2019 is validated, and the deposition of the five emirs is also sustained by the Federal High Court. By implication, this means that Muhammadu Sanusi II remains the emir of Kano.

“The judge also granted our application for the stay of proceedings until the Court of Appeal deals with the appeal before it on jurisdiction. Happily, the signing of the law and the reinstatement of His Highness, Emir Muhammad Sunusi II were done on 23rd May, 2024 before the emergence of the Interim Order which was served on us on Monday 27th May, 2024,” the state government claimed.

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Kano Emirate Tussle: Court Orders Reversal to Statusquo, Sets Aside Law That Dethroned Bayero

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A Federal High Court in Kano has set aside the procedures taken by the Kano State government to repeal the Kano Emirate Council Repeal Law 2024.

The law, recently passed by the Kano State House of Assembly on May 23, was immediately signed into law by Governor Abba Yusuf and was used to dethrone Emir Aminu Ado Bayero and reappoint Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano.

Also, it was used to reverse the creation of four emirates—Bichi, Rano, Karaye, and Gaya, established by the former governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in 2020.

However, the Sarkin Dawaki Babba, Aminu Danagundi, who was represented by Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), challenged the legality of the new law and asked the court to declare the law null and void.

After hearing the motion last Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Abdullahi Liman, adjourned the ruling till this Thursday.

Counsel to the State House of Assembly and its Speaker, Eyitayo Fatogun (SAN), informed the court of a notice of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, seeking a stay proceedings.

However, Justice Liman noted that there was no evidence that the appeal had been entered nor any formal application for a stay filed.

In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Liman set aside the action of the Kano government, ordering parties to maintain the status quo.

The judge held that the defendants were aware of the interim order granted by the court but chose to ignore it and went ahead with the implementation of the law.

Justice Liman, therefore, ruled that he would assume his coercive powers to enforce compliance with his order.

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Cholera Outbreak: Ogun Govt Puts Schools on Red Alert

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The Ogun State Government has directed school heads to ensure good health and safety of all learners and staff members to prevent the spread of Cholera within the communities.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, said preventive measures have been put in place to control the spread of the disease in schools.

According to him, the measures take effect from Wednesday, June 19, 2024 as schools resumed from the mid-term break and the Eid-el-Kabir holiday.

Some of the measures include comprehensive health talks on Cholera prevention among learners and staff, including information on symptoms, transmission routes, proper hand hygiene, and safe drinking water practices;

“Ensure availability of clean water and soap for hand washing ni school premises;

“Encourage regular hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom.

“Promote the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content as a support to hand washing;

“Regularly inspect and maintain water sources within school premises to ensure that they are safe for drinking;

“Instruct learners and staff to consume only boiled or chlorinated water and avoid consuming raw or unwashed fruits and vegetables;

“Maintain clean and hygienic school environments, including proper disposal of waste and regular cleaning of toilets and common areas;

“Collaborate closely with local health authorities and follow their guidelines for cholera prevention and control measures;

“Ensure safe food preparation by making sure that they are properly cooked and covered when not consumed immediately;

“Monitor closely the food vendors and ensure that they collect letters from health facilities certifying their fitness for the job;

“Designate Health Officers within the school to monitor learners and staff for any symptoms of cholera (like frequent watery stooling, etc) and report any suspected cases immediately to the nearest Health Care Centre and ot the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

“By adhering strictly to these preventive measures and maintaining a high level of vigilance, we can collectively safeguard our health and well-being during this critical period,” he added.

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