Barely 48 hours after he allegedly emerged the new leader of the Yoruba race, emeritus Professor of History and Second Republic Senator, Seth Banji Akintoye has denied knowledge of such happening.
Akintoye was said to have thrashed the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by 73 to three votes, at an event coordinated by some Yoruba self-determination groups in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday.
But the retired scholar insists he knows nothing about the election of a new leader, and was not at the venue of the election, but only heard the news on the radio, television and read it in the newspapers just like everyone.
In similar vein, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State Fayemi has described as fallacy, claims that he backed Akintoye’s candidacy, and also sponsored the meeting, where he was elected.
Groups and individuals that participated in the election include the Baale of Ekotedo, Chief Taye Ayorinde; Chief Deji Osibogun; members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (New Era); Oodua Redemption Alliance; Majiyagbe Oodua Vanguard, and Awari Omo Oduduwa; among others.
At the event, the Second Republic senator was adopted as the fourth Yoruba leader after the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Adekunle Ajasin and Senator Abraham Adesanya, with no mention of incumbent Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, who is currently considered the Yoruba leader by virtue of his position.
But in a telephone chat with The Guardian, yesterday, Akintoye said, “I wasn’t at the venue, neither did I get privy knowledge of the election. I heard, and read the news in the media. I also want to clear the air that Governor Fayemi does not know anything about it and he is not sponsoring me.”
The professor ascribed the development to the impatience of some young men and self-determination groups, who were as worried as we the older generation about what is happening to Yoruba land in terms of insecurity, politics and economic downturn.
He stressed: “They are in a hurry and I cannot blame them; neither should we disparage their actions. Those alleging that Fayemi is the one behind it are wrong. The Governor is like a son to me, just as we are from the same state, but I can say clearly that he is not sponsoring me or any group to elect a new Yoruba leader.”
Akintoye, however, said he would make a statement on the development after due consultations, cautioning the younger generations against dishonouring the efforts of elders, who have spent their lives fighting just courses, and seeking the good of Yoruba nation and the country.
Fayemi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Yinka Oyebode, denied sponsoring the event and doing anything to prepare grounds for his alleged 2023 presidential ambition, as some people are already assuming.
Oyebode said: “There is iota of truth in the allegation that Governor Fayemi backed Prof. Akintoye’s candidacy, and also sponsored the meeting.
Those saying that are not being fair to the renowned scholar. Prof Akintoye is an eminent personality with very outstanding credentials and contribution to national development. He is eminently qualified for any leadership role and to lead any organisation. The Governor doesn’t have to push prof’s credentials before he is recognised; he is eminently qualified for any leadership role.”
On the issue of 2023 presidency, Oyebode said, Fayemi has made it clear that he has a job as the Governor of Ekiti State and he is putting his best in terms of focus, attention and energy into the task of rebuilding the state and making life better for the people, as well as, building a truly prosperous state. While doing this, he is also working with the various organs of government at the various levels to ensure that the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari succeeds in taking the country and its people to the next level of development and prosperity.”
He added that the noise about Fayemi’s presidential ambition is from the figment of the imagination of those peddling the rumour. “The primary assignment before the Governor now is to ensure good governance in Ekiti State and to deliver the dividends of democracy to those that elected him.
A close source to Tinubu, who asked not to be named also distanced the national leader of the APC from the Yoruba leadership tussle.
He told The Guardian that the national leader is not struggling the leadership of Yoruba nation with anybody.