Yoruba leaders have warned that, if not nipped in the bud, the dispute between former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, and Senator Femi Okunrounmu, may deepen the over two decades crisis in the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere.
The two octogenarians, who recently launched memoirs to mark their birthdays, had thrown verbal missiles at each other.
While Osoba used Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics to launch himself into the octogenarians club, Okunrounmu used The Dream: Pursuing the Black Renaissance through the Murky Waters of Nigerian Politics.
Okunrounmu, who served as chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the 2014 National Conference, had described the former governor and founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a liar, traitor and a double-faced man.
Reacting, Osoba described Okurounmu as a frustrated and unfulfilled politician who also failed in his chosen profession.
Historian and Second Republic senator, Professor Seth Akintoye; chairman, Board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Otunba Olabiyi Durojaiye; and national secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, have expressed concern over the development, saying the altercation between the two octogenarians was not in the best interest of the Yoruba race, especially in face of critical challenges.
Akintoye said, “Osoba and Okunrounmu are my good friends. We are long followers of Awolowo and it is not good to see them exchange altercations in the media.”
But as an elder statesman, I cannot resort to advising them on the pages of newspapers.”
Olajide stressed, “I don’t think Nigeria can be restructured through executive fiat, like our elders are saying. Nigeria is operating a constitution, and to get it restructured requires a lot of wisdom and understanding and not necessarily a fire brigade approach. As for the altercation between Osoba and Okunrounmu, we will definitely resolve it.”
National publicity secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, also pleaded with the two elders to sheathe their swords in the interest of their people. “What concerns the zone now in the face of insecurity and other critical challenges is bigger than acrimonies. There is no need to fight over what happened more than two decades ago.”
Other concerned Yoruba leaders have also called on the traditional leaders to wade into the matter in the interest of the people.