Otunba Adebayo Odunowo hosts Afenifere, Yoruba socio-cultural group, calls for national unity for progress - The People's Voice


Monday, December 4, 2023

Otunba Adebayo Odunowo hosts Afenifere, Yoruba socio-cultural group, calls for national unity for progress

Otunba Dr. Adebayo Odunowo, has advocated for unity of purpose among the Yorubas for speedy development and called on the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, to give room to other prominent Yoruba sons and daughters to become members.

Odunowo said Afenifere was the most important and recognized amongst all the other groups championing the interest of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria before and after independence from the British.

Otunba Dr. Adebayo Odunowo, who is a community leader and a political stalwart of All Progressives Congress Party (APC) in Ogun East, stated this on Friday when members of the Afenifere in Ikenne and Odogbolu Local Government Areas paid him a courtesy visit in his country home in Imoru-Ijebu in Odogbolu Local Government Area of the state.

He advised the members to retrace their steps backwards towards how the founding fathers of Afenifere handled the group in such impressive ways that all other ethnic nationality groups became envious of the achievements they recorded within a very short time.

Ààrẹ Odunowo also advised the Afenifere members to take urgent steps to ensure that the Yoruba language does not become extinct, expressing disgust at the current situation whereby the Yoruba language is categorized as a vernacular in schools across Yorubaland.

He said his vast travelling experience to some foreign countries had shown that these countries do not joke with their local and indigenous languages. When our children travel to study in such countries, they are required to learn their language for six to twelve months before they can attend classes. Why can we learn from them?" he said.

The community leader, however, commended the group for the recognition it has given to him by paying him a courtesy visit, among his peers.

He further commended the late Yoruba Leader and former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his followers in the Afenifere for their foresight in education and creation of different avenues to generate funds for the region till date and which has been the envy of other parts of Nigeria.

Ààrẹ Odunowo furthered commended past leaders of Afenifere such as late Pa Michael Ajasin, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Chief Bola Ige and others, who were part of the founding members of the group, saying, "Their legacies remain unforgettable in the history of the region."

He therefore advised the visiting group to emulate the past Afenifere leaders in their handling of the group's affairs, adding that they should get involved in partisan politics to enable them contribute their quota in developing the community.

Ààrẹ Odunowo told his visitors that the Nigerian political landscape is evolving, and Afenifere needs to evolve too, if they want to continue to remain relevant. Some of their political agenda has been overtaken by events, hence the need to craft new political agenda that will be in line with present realities. To achieve their new political agenda, Afenifere will have to embrace inclusiveness and collaboration, they will have to liaise with other socio-cultural groups like Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other ethnic nationality groups.

Odunowo added, "If they come together, they will be able to present a common front that will help each ethnic nationality get what they deserve from the centre. "Joining hands together with other groups in the country will not only speed up the process by the Federal Government to hands off the control of local governments and grant local government autonomy but it will smoothen the process of creating new states.

He also lamented that nowadays not much is heard from the Afenifere, urging the group to organize seminars and create awareness on political consciousness, formulation of ideology, adding, "by hearing the voice of Afenifere in all ways and every time like commendation, constructive criticisms and advice on issues concerning the state of the nation."

He further commended the Ogun State Government for granting the traditional religion worshipers in the state an ISESE Day recently and advised the Afenifere to join hands with the state government to achieve what the founding fathers of the group achieved during their time in the past.

While enjoining Afenifere to involve itself in the current governance with sincerity of mind in order to move the state forward by encouraging the upcoming youths to join them in making the group great like it was during the time of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other past Yoruba leaders, Odunowo advise them to put their house in order by reconciling all the fraction within the group, noting that Yoruba youths are watching.

Afenifere Members present were: Chief Ebenezer Ogunlana; Mrs. Funmilayo Soyewo; Prince F. Adesanya; Princess Olubunmi Olujobi; Mrs. Omowunmi Olawale; Madam Ajani Olabisi; Mr. Adeleke Sosan; Mrs. Oladipupo Olayemi; Mr. Adesina Francis Sofuye; Mr. Adedoyin Orelaja and Mr. Oluwole Adelowo

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