‘Akande’s book can create disaffection within Yoruba race’
Some prominent Yoruba leaders, yesterday, cautioned all the stakeholders affected by the recent book, entitled: “My Participation” authored by the former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, to place the interest of the Southwest geo-political zone ahead of whatever pains and agonies the contents of the book might have caused them.
In the book, the pioneer national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) made series of allegations against the Chairman of Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo that the nonagenarian at one time pressurised erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu to build his (Adebanjo) Lekki home.
Akande also vilified former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the book, alleging that the retired military general deliberately failed to find and prosecute the killer of late Attorney-General of the Federation and later Minister of Power, Chief Bola Ige, who was murdered under Obasanjo’s administration.
The former Osun state governor went ahead to accuse the likes of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who succeeded him (Akande) in 2003 of corruption, among other ills.
The book, which was launched in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari, National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu and other prominent dignitaries in Lagos on Thursday, December 9, 2021, has however, continued to generate sharp reactions among Yoruba people.
While some Yoruba leaders have called for immediate withdrawal of the books from the shelves, saying its contents are not good for the consumption of future Yoruba generations, others vilified Akande, accusing him of tying himself to the apron of President Buhari-led Fulani hegemony angling to suppress other ethnic groups in the country.
Whereas, to some, Akande’s position in the book was regarded as part of the desperation of Tinubu’s political dynasty, of which the former Osun State governor is a key member, to curry the favour of the Fulani hegemony for the 2023 presidency. It is alleged that Tinubu, along with Akande, whose body language has indicated his interest in succeeding Buhari, is bent on going the whole hog to achieve his presidential ambition.
The insinuation, it is believed, explains why Akande deliberately singled out ardent critics of the Buhari government like Pa Adebanjo, Obasanjo, Oyinlola and others whereas he (Akande) failed to point out obvious shortcomings of the APC-led Federal Government in his biography.
Some critics of the book, especially those in APC, who preferred anonymity, lamented that the book might have created more opposition for Tinubu’s presidential aspiration in Yoruba Land than the good it might have intended to do.
But within the party, other school of thought believe that such line of thinking is illogical because the former governor of Lagos, to whom Akande himself is ‘Man Friday’ must have seen the contents of the biography, digested and also weighed the implications before it was published.
Both Akande and Tinubu have been accused of trying to create disunity in Yoruba Land to curry support of the Fulani ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.
In a telephone conversation with The Guardian, yesterday, Chairman Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Mr. Wale Oshun, said the former governor of Osun State knew the implications and gravity of the contents in his autobiography before publishing and must have prepared his mind for the reactions now trailing its launch.
Oshun added that the fact that the book is generating sharp reactions and a type of division is nothing new. He said the unity of the Yoruba race in critical period like this has not always been achieved when people kept silence over the type of weighty allegations made by Chief Akande.
Oshun said Pa Adebanjo has the right to respond just as the onus is on Chief Akande to prove “the beauty of the development is that it would further make Yoruba people to understand deeply the kind of elders and leaders that were leading them.”
He dismissed the fear that the book will create further rancour within the rank and file of Yoruba, saying, “Yoruba people are educated. Moreover, this is not the first time issues like this will arise in Yoruba Land. It will soon subside.”
Senator Femi Okuroumu, who represented Ogun Central (1999-2003) under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD), accused Akande and Tinubu of ‘playing slave’ to the Fulani because of Tinubu’s inordinate presidential ambition.
He described the contents of Akande’s book as unnecessary and a slap to Yoruba race and not necessarily those he accused in the book.
The Afenifere stalwart said it is time for Yoruba younger generations to kick out the old cargoes in politics if they really want to achieve anything meaningful.
He also dismissed Akande’s allegations against Adebanjo and Obasanjo, saying, Tinubu and the former Osun State governor should explain their sources of wealth as Chief Adebanjo demanded in his reaction.
Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), Seye Oyeleye, rather called for caution in his reaction. He appealed to all accused to place the interest of the Southwest above personal feelings.
But former Deputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George condemned the book and called for its immediate removal from the shelves.
He said the contents contained fallacies and inaccuracies and was not good for present and future consumptions.
George also described the contents of the autobiography as capable of creating crisis within the Yoruba race.
But George appealed to stakeholders across Yoruba Land to disregard Akande’s claim in the book, saying the contents of the autobiography is not good for the consumption of future generations of Yoruba children.
George narrated how Akande ran to Obasanjo for assistance during the Ife/Modakeke War in Osun State when he (Akande) was governor and through the intervention of the former president, a permanent solution was found to the crisis till date.
The former PDP national deputy chairman faulted Akande for vilifying Adebanjo and Obasanjo, whereas he (Akande) failed to speak on the alleged corruption of his friend, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
A Southwest socio-political group, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, also said the book should be taken away from circulation.
President of the forum, Akin Malaolu, described the contents of the book as filled with malice and avarice that are not good for the consumption of future generations.
The statement stated: “With attention to words and meaning in the sentences used in the autobiography of Chief Bisi Akande, one can touch with the fingers the presence of ‘malice and avarice’ on many paintings of several individuals, including Chief Ayo Adebanjo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in the book, titled, ‘My Participations.’
“The book may perhaps be titled by its confusing contents as a “Malignant Episonage” in purpose. These abuses on mostly Adebanjo and Obasanjo in reality do not exist if we take a critical look at the political visages of some of the leaders described as pretenders.
“No doubt, Adebanjo may have been too domineering in some instances, but to paint him black is a little too evil when we put his several political struggles side by side with the general conditions of things in our country. He could be seen as a near ‘saint’ and that is exactly what he is in the minds of indigenous Yoruba people and to those in the Diaspora. The restructuring and true federalism spirit that connotes his many actions gave him out as a great and trusted disciple of Awo.
“On Obasanjo, we ask, who among the present Nigerian leaders has done better than him in clear understanding of our situations and at regular periods, he has called together other leaders and they obeyed him? Regarding political corruption, can we absolve in totality Akande himself of same guilt if others he painted black are?”
“We are not saying leaders and elders cannot duel, but it should be done with utmost wisdom so that the youths and coming up leaders can understand the language applied in the struggle to outwit one another are not dishonest. And the intermediate connections of the reasons and ideas should be those that help better their understanding on what to fight for and what to ignore.
“The way forward is for the book of unneeded avarice to be withdrawn from the shelves wherever they are for remedy falsehoods that are most popular among present day political leaders.
“Many tribes in Nigeria today are trying to fight off the yoke of internal colonisation and this book showed no iota of interest in such an ongoing but permissible struggle against their forced wearing of slavery portraits,” the statement stated.