November 03, (THEWILL) – Former leader of Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa. Ruben Fasoranti, has denied media reports that he claimed leadership of the group.
Fasoranti, 96, stepped down as Afenifere leader in 2021 for Chief Ayo Adebanjo, after expressing concerns about his ability to continue leading the group.
But the elder statesman, in a viral video, allegedly insisted he remained the leader of the group, adding that the meetings of the socio-political group will henceforth hold in Akure, the capital of Ondo State and that the leaders of the group will no longer converge at Isoya Ogbo, Ijebu home of Chief Adebanjo.
The reports followed the recent endorsement of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), for the 2023 elections by Pa. Fasoranti.
He had on Sunday, at a meeting in Ondo State, endorsed Tinubu’s Presidential bid; contrary to the earlier position of Adebanjo, who had announced the decision of Afenifere to back Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
But in a swift rebuttal on Thursday, Pa. Fasoranti denied he ever claimed leadership of the group or asked members to seize holding meetings at the request of Adebanjo.
A statement issued by Adedapo Abiola, his Personal Assistant, reads: “It has come to Papa R.F. Fasonranti’s knowledge that some sections of the media, especially the social media, have been ascribing to him false statements designed to cause confusion and polarise Afenifere.
“I have Papa’s permission to announce that he didn’t say that Chief Ayo Adebanjo is no longer the acting leader of Afenifere or that all future Afenifere meetings should henceforth be held at his residence in Akure.
“Papa’s main concern is the interest of the Yoruba in the complex political situation in Nigeria. It is also his concern that Afenifere should survive in dignity and remain a purveyor of the interest of the Yoruba race.
“It is hoped that this information will be adequately circulated.”