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The Pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural Organization, Afenifere, has decried rising insecurity in the country, even as it turned 70 years today.
The body said “the insecurity in the land has forced it to reschedule its programmes for the anniversary.
“The body directed Muslim members and well wishers across the federation to observe worships on Friday, April 30 in mosques while the Christian counterparts were enjoined to attend service at designated churches determined by state chapters on Sunday, May 2.
It revealed this plan in a statement its Deputy Leader, Oba Oladipo Olaitan co-signed with Chairman of Afenifere Organising Committee, Chief Supo Shonibare; Chief Korede Duyile; Dr. Femi Balogun; Chief Kole Omololu; Hon. Lekan Alabi and Mr. Tijani Babatunde yesterday.
While it observed its 70th anniversary called for grand celebration as already scheduled, it said what it did not plan took over its programmes outlined to commemorate the birth of progressivism in Southwest.
“That the second wave of COVID 19 and the mayhem by herdsmen and the spate of kidnapping in Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria in general “have made us to reappraise the programme in the light of present realities.”
According to the body, as a responsible organization, it could not afford to undertake all the events scheduled for the 70th anniversary, thus enjoining all its chapters “to observe Moslem worships in mosques on Friday, 30th April 2021.”
Likewise, it noted that Christians “are enjoined to attend service at the designated Churches determined by state chapters on Sunday, 2nd May 2021 to pray for peace and a restructured nation and for the health of mind and body for our people. Well-wishers are also enjoined to join them.
“At a more auspicious time in the not too distant future, when the security and health challenges must have abated, we shall announce the dates for the other programmes such as colloquium and lecture, essay competition for undergraduates & anniversary dinner and cultural festivities.”
The organization, also, commended the Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other founding fathers for “establishing a powerful political movement that changed the face of politics in Africa forever.”
Giving background to its establishment, Afenifere explained how its founding fathers publicly the Action Group, now defunct, met at a press conference that took place in Ibadan, Oyo State on the 21st March 1951
Although many were invited, According to the organization, those who turned up apart from the Convener were Chief Abiodun Akerele, Chief S.O. Shonibare, Chief Ayo Akinsanya, Chief Olatunji Dosunmu, Mr Samuel Akinsanya, Chief J.O. Adigun and Chief S.T. Oredein.
“These eight men, led by Chief Awolowo, were the founding fathers of Action Group (Egbe Afenifere). The party was inaugurated in Owo, on the 28th April 1951 with leaders from 22 out of the 24 administrative divisions in Western Region in attendance.
“Today, being the 28th April is the 70th anniversary of that epic event. We are most indebted for the enduring legacy bestowed upon the progressive political strand in the Southwest by the efforts of these founding fathers and all the other leaders in attendance at Owo on the 28th April 1951.”
Just after its establishment, Afenifere noted that the party called for an immediate end to British rule and for the development of several social welfare programs.
In 1951, according to the organisation, the party won the Western Region election and instituted revolutionary programmes like free education and health.
It, therefore, commended the efforts of the founding fathers upon whose shoulders the succeeding leaders “now stand to gaze at a better future to bequeath to the coming generations. With its motto as life more abundant, Afenifere turned Western Nigeria to a model of development.”