A critic replies Akintoye, By Bolanle Bolawole

Inside Akeredolu’s ‘Republic’, By Bolanle Bolawole
Bolanle Bolawole

Last week’s “Akintoye: A response to critics” quoting Prof. Wale Adeniran, National Chairman of Ilana Omo Oduduwa (Oodua), IOO, on behalf of himself, the worldwide leader of Ilana, Prof. Banji Akintoye (the Alana), and other top-shot IOO executives, has drawn the ire of Mr. George Akinola, an architect and erstwhile General Secretary of the IOO.  Another erstwhile IOO executive, Otunba Sade Olukoya (acting the proverbial “eku eda”), had, in a press statement she issued raising allegations against the Ilana leadership of Akintoye, started it all. Penultimate Sunday, miffed by the “roforofo” fight that was engulfing IOO, just like it had done the Yoruba World Congress (YWC) a year earlier, I had written “The travails of Akintoye” As someone who is familiar with the dramatis personae in the squabbles that have distracted the YWC and now IOO, I felt the compelling need to throw light on some of the issues tearing the leaders of the Yoruba self-determination struggle apart, if for nothing else but so that the teeming supporters of an envisaged Yoruba nation can be abreast of the intrigues and politics working against their dream of a Yoruba or Oodua nation. What is beyond contest in all of this is that all is not well between former comrades and things are, therefore, no longer at ease.

Akinola’s response to Adeniran (4,093 words) and titled “Wale Adeniran’s vituperations – A response” was damn too lengthy for a column of just 1,800 words at the most. In addition, it was vituperation galore for a response railing against another person’s alleged “vituperations! And Akinola started and ended his vituperations targeting me! Not to worry, we have been long enough in this business of writing and have dealt with all sorts. We have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Besides, Akinola is entitled to air his views and I have a duty to help him make sense and meaning out of his own vituperations. But editing Akinola’s piece was not an easy task. I kept going over it again and again to ensure the salient points were not lost to editing. In the end, I felt satisfied that I did my best. Please read! I will return to make a few comments at the end.

What is beyond contest in all of this is that all is not well between former comrades and things are, therefore, no longer at ease.

“For clarity and better understanding by the public, I shall respond to the points as they were raised by Dr. Adeniran: 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.” For the records, what do I gain from maligning Prof. Banji Akintoye? I played a prominent role in promoting his ascendancy to Yoruba leadership and in sustaining and defending him, even when the storms were raging around him. It was Prof. Akintoye’s intolerance of criticism and lack of openness and accountability that eventually frustrated us out of Ilana. He kept using proxies to undermine and fight us until we honourably resigned. When the leader has a fall-out with five members of a nine-member executive council, you have to examine yourself and your conduct. And we should note that this is not the first, second or third time this scenario would repeat itself around Prof. Banji Akintoye.

Ilana Omo Oodua never held any account, to the best of my knowledge. The account being referred to by Dr. Adeniran was in existence long before Ilana Omo Oodua came into being, and it was opened for a completely different purpose by some of us in the self-determination struggle. It shows how little Adeniran knows about the history of the struggle to commit this faux pas! Prof. Akintoye’s request for some funds to be sent into that account was resisted for the simple reason that it would confuse accounts and disrupt the main purpose of operating this said account. We advised Ilana to open a fresh account on its own but we were prevailed upon to accommodate the group until that could be perfected. Later, Baba Akintoye requested for the account to be converted totally for the use of the organization with Adeniran as the lead signatory. Of course, that meant a complete compromise of the original intent of the account, which would ultimately expose our flanks, as it is doing now. Again, my argument against it was cast aside and I was asked to get the form for Adeniran to fill…but for reasons best known to him, it took Adeniran weeks to fill and return a simple form…Till date, the form is with him (since June).

Adeniran is definitely being economical with the truth if he says that only I, as principal signatory, knew how much money went into the bank account, how much money was withdrawn, and for what purpose. Regularly, on a bi-monthly or monthly basis, I rendered ALL accounts in my possession to the organization. A copy of this was sent on a regular basis by e-mail to Prof. Banji Akintoye, as the leader and chief accounting officer of the organization; Otunba Folasade Olukoya as the treasurer and Dr. Akin Adejuwon, a long-standing associate of Dr. Adeniran, as my witness. It was as if I knew this day would come! All monies sent to the account by Ms. Sola Salako, the erstwhile Diaspora Secretary, were all reported in the regular account statements sent to Prof. Banji Akintoye, Otunba  Folasade Olukoya and Dr. Akin Adejuwon.

“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.”  I was invited by Asiwaju Mayungbe, the leader of Yoruba for Self Preservation, and Otunba Olukoya to accompany them to Igangan to donate relief materials to the victims of Fulani attacks. That, to me, was a worthy cause. How they sourced their funds was not known to me; neither did I pry. However, if part of the funds was sent by the Diaspora Secretary, I was not aware of until months later when I received a brief statement of account on deployments from Ms. Sola Salako. I had constantly advised her to send dashboard display of incomes and outgoings to the executive committee.  Both officers are at liberty to render such accounts.

“To date, Akinola has not deemed it fit to hand over the account of Ilana back to the organization” This account does not belong to Ilana Omo Oodua, neither was it opened for the purpose. It was opened long before Ilana came to be. Adeniran has openly confessed in his own writing that money was sent to him and Prof. Banji Akintoye via his personal account anytime they solicited for funds. Were these on behalf of the organization or on a private basis? Everybody must render accounts of funds received!

“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.” The real story revolved around one of my contacts who, upon watching on social media the series of journeys I had to embark upon before, during and after the major rallies, called me to ask how we were transiting such great distances, and with whose vehicle. When I told him I had been using my private vehicles, he was alarmed and concerned that my private assets should not be used to fight a national cause… This, however, does not preclude, in my view, the car’s use by any one of us who may so desire it but parking it at the Ibadan office or bringing the vehicle to them, as Prof. Akintoye instructed, is completely out of the question.

“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”. This was never reported to the organization to the best of my knowledge! Adeniran stated his involvement with the radio project. How can you, as the chairman of a project, claim ignorance of the final completion sum before ordering the deployment of funds? Wasn’t there an agreement? What were the terms and delivery mandates? What due diligence was conducted to show there were no underhand dealings?

I know virtually all the dramatis personae in the YWC and, now, Ilana fall-out to dare to say that with the type of followers on display, no one needs an external enemy. Yoruba elders have said it all: “Kokoro to n j’efo, ara efo l’o wa”

“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.” This is the evidence as given by Sola Salako: Upon my incessant requests that she make her accounts known to the Exco… She alleged that on the 6th of August, 2021, she remitted the sum of 3000 Pounds through an account (name withheld). Bank account statements don’t lie!

“… 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.”  Weighty issues like the re-deployment or removal of a high-ranking officer or the disbandment of a whole national chapter, in this case, that of the United Kingdom; should be exhaustively discussed at the highest organ of the organization before a major decision is reached. Unless we are running a one-man show, such decisions should never be arrived at by fiat. This was what I challenged. I believe the right thing to do was to protest this… Hence, I had to do the next honourable thing by resigning.”

Now my comments as we close the chapter on this: Akinola made so many allegations that were extraneous to what Prof. Wale Adeniran discussed in his own response; so I had to leave them out. It is sad that in the Yoruba self-determination struggle, those who shout “Hossanah” today are usually eager to cry “Crucify him” tomorrow! There is no perfect leader anywhere. Good followers cover up for their leaders but my experience at the Yoruba World Congress and Ilana has been that followers take advantage of – and exploit to the hilt – the Achilles’ heel of their leaders. I know virtually all the dramatis personae in the YWC and, now, Ilana fall-out to dare to say that with the type of followers on display, no one needs an external enemy. Yoruba elders have said it all: “Kokoro to n j’efo, ara efo l’o wa”

*Bolawole (turnpot@gmail.com / 0705 263 1058)