Yoruba Nation Agitators’ Chairman, Spokesman Quit Amid Fraud Allegations

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The Yoruba self-determination group, also known as Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide (IOOW), has been thrown into disarray following the resignation of the Chairman Prof. Wale Adeniran and the Communication Secretary, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, of their membership of the group amid fraud allegations.

While Adeniran asked the Yoruba elders to set up a committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the fraud allegations, Adeleye specifically demanded accountability from the immediate past leader of the group, Prof. Banji Akintoye.

The duo announced their decision in separate statements at the weekend after allegations of fund embezzlement and misappropriation unsettled the frontline self-determination group.

In a viral video, Adeniran said he stepped aside “to allow a thorough investigation into the allegation of fraud levelled against him.”

He challenged whoever might have evidence against him or who might have sent money to the organisation through him to come forward and make it known to the public.

He explained that he resigned his membership from the self-determination group to allow thorough investigation, calling on Yoruba elders to set up a committee in that regard.

He said: “I want to use this medium to step aside as the Chairman and member of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide. I step down as the participant in the Yoruba nation’s struggle to allow for unfettered investigations of all these allegations.

“Because in all developed parts of the world, what they normally do is that, if there is an allegation against a public office holder, he or she will step aside to allow a thorough investigation. That is what I am doing right now.

“I thank you all. Whatever comes out after the investigation should be made public. There should not be a secret there. They should publicise the outcome of the investigation because all Yoruba people must know the truth about the fraud allegation involving the struggle,” Adeniran explained.

In a statement, Friday, Adeleye also announced his resignation from his position and equally renounced his membership in the group.

He noted that he had stepped down as Akintoye’s Communications Manager in August 2022, and asked the former Yoruba Nation leader to allow a proper audit of his tenure.

He said: “Given recent developments in the Yoruba self-determination struggle, I wish to inform all the Yoruba people worldwide that I have stepped aside and withdrawn from the agitation for an independent Yoruba nation under its current leadership effective from January 6.

“May I inform members of the public that I stepped aside as the Communications Manager of Prof. Banji Akintoye on August 5, 2022, and finally cut off communication with the historian on October 31, 2022. I have also resigned from my membership of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide effective from January 2.

“Those of you that sent your hard-earned money to your heroes should hold those you sent money to for accountability and leave me alone. I will no longer take bullets for your heroes.

“Anyone or group of persons who knows he sent me money should provide proof of payment into my account so that I can respond to the person appropriately,” Adeleye explained in his resignation letter.

He, therefore, called Akintoye to also step aside from the struggle so that his account of stewardship and all the funds he had collected could be interrogated by the Yoruba people.

However, notable members of the group led by Femi Afolabi have rejected the resignations.

Afolabi, at a media chat in Ibadan, insisted that the duo were still recognised as the leaders of the group.

He said: “Akintoye and Adeniran have contributed immensely to the struggle and still have a lot to contribute to the actualisation of Yoruba nation.

“We are not unaware of the campaign of calumny by some Pseudo Yoruba Nationalists who are paid agents of the Fulani oligarchy to malign and destroy the hard-earned reputation of the duo based on puerile and pedestrian allegations that cannot pass a kindergarten test of empirical verification.”

 He noted that the leadership quality of Akintoye enhanced his revalidation and reaffirmation as the leader of the group till date.

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