Afenifere: There is no killing the beetle – Part 2
Continued from yesterday
The latest in the series of vile attempts to undermine the Afenifere worldview is the ill-fated palace coup attempt staged the other week in Akure. Certain political dramatis personae, intent on beefing up their support base, sought and glibly obtained entry into the otherwise impenetrable fortress of the Afenifere bastion just to weaken and eventually crumble her walls. Afeneifere has travelled this route a number of times in the past.
A most notable insidious threat to the Afenifere legacy of unanimity of purpose and action came in the wake of the tussle for the nomination of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) – a political party put together by Afenifere – Olu Falae surprisingly trounced redoubtable Chief Bola Ige to emerge the party’s flagbearer.
Ige could not hide his disdain for the party’s choice. He plotted the seething leadership crises that have been the bane of Afenifere post-Awo. Ige’s fallback position even as he held on to his position as Deputy Leader of Afenifere, was to form the rival Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) thereby fictionalising Afenifere.
Many well-heeled or sincere interventions to resolve the crises in the House of Awolowo did not yield desired fruits as Ige would not be pacified regarding what he considered a slight to his persona. Afenifere was split down the middle into two factions as Ige promoted the Ayo Fasanmi splinter group and continued to pay lip service to the headship of the Fasoranti (or authentic) wing.
The present or current threat to the Afenifere vision is an off-shoot of the Bola Ige “gaudily joyful” mirth at Falae’s emergence as AD flagbearer. Before his death, Ige had surrounded himself with persons who he shared his angst with. Bola Ahmed Tinubu rallied the romp of this group in aid of his own vaulting ambition of leading what appears on the surface as the desired re-unification of Yoruba sociology and politics.
Unknown to many who fell for his thinly-veiled posturing, Tinubu’s effort has been a smokescreen for his presidential and general political patronage. Tinubu has consistently battled the Afenifere leadership hegemony by creating a counterpoise to it each time. He has propped up and used otherwise unambitious gentlemen for his proxy battles.
Deploying an unfathomable war chest of resources, very few persons have been able to ignore Tinubu’s overtures to help upturn Yorubaland’s political applecart. Ayo Fasanmi, Biyi Durojaye and others like them have fallen prey to Tinubu’s veneer.
The camouflaged visit of a coterie of Tinubu sympathisers last week is in line with the fox’s trajectory. Fasoranti who about two years ago had ceded the headship of Afenifere to Ayo Adebanjo was the next target of Tinubu for derailing the cohesion in the group. This same Fasoranti was derided or sneered at by the Tinubu group at his ascension to the leadership of Afenifere. This delegitimisation continued unabated until Tinubu suddenly found value in an endorsement of his presidential bid by Afenifere.
Fasoranti’s advanced age was exploited to exact an endorsement of the Tinubu presidency. Gathering in Akure under a Conscience of Yoruba Nation (COYN) banner, the group disingenuously metamorphosed into Afenifere when, without conscience, it issued a communique, not under its advertised banner with which it had convoked a conference and invited “essentially a gathering of chieftains of APC of the South-west”. COYN deviously appended the Afenifere imprimatur to its rascality.
The attempt to kidnap or abduct Afenifere leadership has again floundered. All those whose names have been associated with this infamy have inexorably gone down in the records as participants in the catalogue of assaults against the soul of the Yoruba persona of Omoluabi or the practitioners of the ethic of noblese oblige.
Historically, it is noteworthy that in a sweeping abrogation of all political parties and socio-political formations, etc. by the military when it seized power in 1966 and was bent on legitimising its stranglehold on the polity, Afenifere was providentially spared. She was not mentioned in the long list of banned bodies in spite of her visibility and immanent in-dwelling.
This seeming omission is not ordinary and must be understood only in the context of a spiritual acknowledgement and approval of the centrality of her being and offerings. Afenifere’s ordained place in intellectual theorising and in the jigsaw mechanics of making Nigeria a peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant community is notable.
Regarding the truthful thrust of Afenifere, we conclude with the immortal words of Winston Churchill: “The truth is incontrovertible; panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.”
A leading advertising agency once ran a campaign by-line exemplifying the durability, resilience and utility of a brand of a motor vehicle in the 1970s and concluded by submitting that “There is no killing the Beetle”. So it is with Afenifere.
Rotimi-John, a lawyer and commentator on public affairs wrote via email@example.com