Last week’s “The travails of Prof. Akintoye” attracted reaction from far and near. Some of the reactions sought to throw light on why the Ilana Omo Oodua leader, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has been the object of cruel betrayal by lieutenants in the self-determination struggle of the Yoruba for their own YEXIT (Yoruba exit Nigeria). Has betrayal of leaders not been the second nature of the Yoruba political elite? Others fingered diverse interests among the Yoruba ruling class and intelligentsia opposed to Yoruba nationalism at this point in time for diverse reasons and not necessarily because they habour any personal animosity against Akintoye. Still, other readers beamed the searchlight on what can be referred to as “outside” or “external” forces or factors intent on keeping Nigeria as it is and stridently opposed to its restructuring or break-up. Some responders, however, described Akintoye as “the architect of his own destruction”, so to say, in that he left his flanks open for attacks as well as failed, according to them, to pay adequate attention to the sensitivities of the various Yoruba sub-ethnic nationalities and the well-advertised, even if age-long, rivalries amongst them. Many reasoned that schisms within the Yoruba are no new phenomena and should be factored into any Yoruba project if it must succeed. Of course, money, power, influence and rivalry have always been debilitating factors in every human organization. What are followers and colleagues doing to Akintoye today that was not done to Awo or MKO Abiola or that MKO himself did not do to Awo?
While I was putting finishing touches to weaving this cacophony of voices into one whole piece, a rejoinder came from Dr. Wale Adeniran, the National Chairman of Ilana Omo Oodua, acting on behalf of himself and Prof. Akintoye. In the best tradition of the journalism profession, I felt the compelling need for us to hear from the horse’s mouth, as it were. But since this is a running story, other reactions may still have their day as events unfold. Titled “Ilana Omo Oduduwa: Telling it as it is”, the rejoinder (with slight editing) reads: Recently, some officers of Ilana Omo Oduduwa Executive Council resigned from their positions. It is their right to do so. However, what one finds puzzling is their resort to blatant falsehood, wicked fabrications and spurious, baseless allegations against their former colleagues. It must be stated that nobody has a right to put filth, and falsehood especially, in matters that concern the destiny of a whole nation like the Yoruba Nation.
For instance, George Akinola and Sade Olukoya in their desperate bid to malign the Alana (Prof. Banji Akintoye) and justify their treacherous behaviour, falsely accused him of financial impropriety. In respect of this false allegation, I make bold to state that at no time since the inception of Ilana has Akintoye handled ANY money belonging to Ilana Omo Oodua. He always and constantly spends his own money from his personal pension to promote the cause of Ilana. Sade Olukoya knows this for a fact because she is one of the best-known beneficiaries of Akintoye’s generosity. More importantly, at any time that Prof. Akintoye had solicited for funds for a specific purpose from a third party, he had taken the pain to specify who or where such money should be sent.
Furthermore, the only account held by Ilana was run by George Akinola as principal signatory and Basorun Kunle Adesokan as second signatory. When, at the beginning of 2021, the Ilana Executive Council resolved that I, as Chairman of Ilana, should be the lead signatory with Akinola and Adesokan as co-signatories, George Akinola did not bring the relevant papers to be filled to me until early May 2021, after repeated requests. And, when he finally did, he did not wait for me to fill the form and hand it back to him for onward transmission to the Bank concerned. The implication being that till Akinola resigned from his position as General Secretary of Ilana Omo Oodua, only he as principal signatory knew how much money went into the bank account, how money was withdrawn and for what purpose. To date, Akinola has not deemed it fit to hand over the account of Ilana back to the organization.
Some time ago at an Ilana Exco meeting, Madam Sola Salako, the Diaspora Secretary of Ilana (up till some weeks ago), said explicitly that she constantly sent money to Akinola and Olukoya from the Ilana account of the Diaspora Secretariat. Apart from this off-the-cuff remark, it is curious that whatever financial transaction that transpired between the erstwhile Diaspora Secretary and the duo of Akinola and Olukoya was never made known to Prof. Akintoye or the Executive Council. Whenever Akintoye had to solicit for funds, such money was sent directly to me, Wale Adeniran, as Ilana Chairman. And each time I received such money, I would send the donor(s) evidence of my collection of such monies as well as receipts given to me by those concerned. I only informed Prof. Akintoye of these transactions so he could express gratitude to the donors.
It needs to be stated, however, that there are Ilana branches in the Diaspora as well as individuals who always take it upon themselves to send money to the Alana and my humble self for our personal upkeep since we left Nigeria about seven months ago. I, Wale Adeniran, always received such monies on behalf of both of us and only report to Akintoye.
The only official vehicle belonging to Ilana was a gift from a well-meaning Yoruba patriot from the Diaspora. Akinola took possession of the vehicle without even reporting the donation to Prof. Akintoye. He is still holding on to the vehicle. There are other items that belong to Ilana which Akinola is still holding on to. A major source of Akinola’s anger against Ilana arose when the Ilana Exco directed that all gifts to Ilana should be properly registered at the Ilana Secretariat. He resented the directive and interpreted it as a ploy meant to undermine his office. This was typical of Akinola’s attitude throughout his tenure as General Secretary of Ilana whenever he felt a decision was not in his own personal interest.
Throughout the Diaspora Secretary’s tenure and as Coordinator of Ilana UK Chapter, she never, at any time, disclosed to the Ilana Executive Council how much money there was in Ilana coffers. And at no time did Alana or the Chairman ever ask her about the finances of her office. As earlier stated, the Ilana Executive Council later learnt of illicit financial transactions between the erstwhile Diaspora Secretary, Akinola and Olukoya. Neither Olukoya nor Akinola deemed it fit to inform Prof. Akintoye or my humble self as IOO’s chairman that they received money to buy relief materials for Igangan victims of Fulani attacks in August of this year.
When Ilana decided to establish a radio station, donors were asked to make payments into the Ilana bank account to which Akinola was principal signatory and not into the private account of either Prof. Akintoye or the Chairman’s. The man who was introduced to us as a specialist in setting up radio stations came to discuss with Alana, myself and some other members of Ilana Executive Council. He made us understand that he could establish the radio station with a certain sum. The matter was reported to members of the Radio Committee who gave the go-ahead after exhaustive deliberations. The station started transmission a couple of weeks thereafter. Then the specialist requested for an additional payment of a whopping sum beyond expectations. I almost passed out! I quickly called the specialist up and expressed my shock at his fresh bill, after alerting Alana. His explanation satisfied neither me nor Alana. Honestly, he did admit to never informing us that we would have to pay such an amount as balance payment. It was this development that stalled the project.
Sometime in September 2021, a donor got a vehicle delivered to Prof. Akintoye and I for our use. It must be stated that we did not request for a vehicle from the donor. Nonetheless, we thought it was thoughtful of him. However, since the vehicle was delivered, it has been lying unused due to the fact that it has not been registered. We have since been considering what to do with the vehicle.
To state that “Madam Salako was removed (from office) because she wouldn’t keep sending Diaspora money to Akintoye’s personal account…” is nothing short of blatant falsehood. As earlier affirmed, Prof. Akintoye never requested for money from Salako and neither did he ever receive any from her. I dare anyone making wild and disparaging allegations against Akintoye and I to provide whatever evidence they have to counter the above affirmation.
The erstwhile Diaspora Secretary was removed from office after it was discovered that she was a cultural misfit for the office into which she was appointed by the Alana. And, apart from that, for more than one year, she did not present any report to the Ilana Executive Council in respect of her activities at the UNPO even though she was repeatedly asked for the report at Exco meetings. When she was removed as Diaspora Secretary, she was still retained as Secretary for International Relations and UNPO with specific directives in respect of Ilana expectations. Nonetheless, she became disgruntled, refused to hand over to her successor and embarked on sabotaging Ilana website and Facebook accounts. She also constituted herself into a clog in the wheel of progress of the United Kingdom Ilana Chapter. Therefore, the Alana had no choice but to dissolve the Ilana UK Chapter controlled by Salako and call for fresh elections to elect a new UK Executive Council. It was this action that triggered the wild allegations and tantrums being thrown by Akinola and Olukoya.
It bears recalling that Akinola had protested angrily against the redeployment of Salako from being the Diaspora Secretary to strictly International Relations. He did say that he regarded the action as an attack against his person and threatened that he would destroy Ilana because of it. I leave the reader to draw their conclusions in respect of the above episode. As to the weighty allegation that the IOO lawyer was being used to launder funds for the Alana and the Chairman, I hope those making such allegations will be prepared to provide all necessary evidence when and where they will be called upon to do so. For the record, I wish to state that the IOO lawyer in question demonstrated the highest level of probity in his handling of funds sent to him for the payment of legal services rendered by fellow lawyers as he diligently documented such payments. This Yoruba man deserves the highest commendation of all Yoruba people.
It is worrisome and disheartening that rather than focus on how to defend Yorubaland and its people against the mindless and barbaric attacks of terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, some of our erstwhile colleagues have decided to devote valuable time to launching blatantly false and malicious accusations against the Alana. Rather than support the Alana’s efforts at forging a united front for all Yoruba self-determination groups, saboteurs and traitors have gone around misrepresenting the activities of the Alana as promoting restructuring. They would have nothing to do with other self-determination groups while stubbornly refusing to see wisdom in the saying ‘Unity is Strength’”
That was the statement from Adeniran! And I dare to say that this is another sad day for the Yoruba self-determination struggle! What have traitors learnt from the sad episodes of the Akintolas, Busari Adelakuns, Sunday Afolabis, to mention but a few? And why do they often jettison the Yoruba Omoluabi ethos? Our people have a saying: It is not all clothes that you hang out in the sun to dry! Why are some not taking heed? Why do disgruntled elements rush to the press on matters that need careful handling within closets? Yoruba time-honored morals and rationality are thrown to the dogs where followers turn on their leaders for selfish, self-serving pecuniary considerations in blatantly destructive gangster style masquerading as self-determination struggle.
By Bolanle Bolawole
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