PAN-YORUBA socio-political group, Afenifere, has described one of its leaders, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who turns 90 today (Tuesday), as one of Nigeria’s most consistent, forthright, dedicated, trusted and tested icons.
This was just as Afenifere, further described Chief Adebanjo as a priceless gift to Yoruba Nation and Nigeria and a faithful disciple of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, saying he had remained one of the most strident voices in the calls for a restructuring of the country like the sage himself who had stridently advocated a federal Nigeria since 1947.
Afenifere said this on Monday in a statement issued by the group to celebrate one of its own, even as it declared that the story of Chief Adebanjo was partly that of Afenifere.
In the statement signed by its spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin, the group said this was because there was unbroken interconnectedness in a man who had consistently stayed on a political front for almost seven decades.
“The entire Afenifere family rises like one man to salute and celebrate one of its most consistent, forthright, dedicated, trusted and tested icons, Chief Ayo Adebanjo as he clocks 90 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
“The story of Chief Adebanjo is partly that of Afenifere as there is unbroken interconnectedness in a man who has consistently stayed on a political front for almost seven decades. You can therefore not write the history of Afenifere without Adebanjo featuring or that of Adebanjo without mentioning Afenifere.
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“In fact, if you take Afenifere out of Chief Adebanjo’s life, all that may be left in his childhood and adolescence.
This explains our joy as this great spirit celebrates 90 and shatters the whole idea generated by the fear that you have to stay out of trouble with authorities to preserve your life. He has confronted evil in the land for over 60 years,” Afenifere said in the statement.
According to the group, the nonagenarian has consistently spoken fearlessly and organized effectively against injustice, inequality, domination and the unitary constitution, which it said had arrested the development of the country.
Afenifere recalled that Adebanjo had had to go on exile, spent time behind bars and endure other discomforts, saying he nonetheless came out with “‘as I was saying’ disposition, unbowed and un-cowed; now celebrating 90 years on earth.”
Speaking further, Afenifere, contended that Chief Adebanjo had left bold imprints in the both defunct Action Group (AG), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), adding that his foray in Afenifere, NADECO, CUU, Yoruba Summit Group and lately the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum was all about service as his guiding light.
“He remains one of the most strident voices in the calls for a restructuring of Nigeria into a proper federation for the country to fulfil its manifest destiny. He is an eloquent and consistent advocate of restructuring as a faithful disciple of Chief Obafemi Awolowo who has stridently advocated a federal Nigeria since 1947.
“As he celebrates 90 in a country where life expectancy is 53 years, it is our prayer that God who has spared him for the past 90 years will preserve his life to see a reconstituted Nigeria where all sections will live to the fullest of their happiness and where we will not be counting dead bodies on daily basis. Once again, we salute Chief Adebanjo, a priceless gift to Yoruba Nation and Nigeria,” Afenifere said.
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