Banji Akintoye, Stephen Adebanji Akintoye

Second Republic Senator, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has accepted the position of Yoruba leader and promised to work towards unifying all groups and politicians in the interest of the region.

Addressing the media yesterday at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, in company with National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain, Dr. Amos Akingba and veteran journalist, Chief Tola Adeniyi, among others, the professor of history promised to remain non-partisan in the pursuit of progress, prosperity and the right destiny for the Yoruba nation.

It would be recalled that Akintoye was elected Yoruba leader on August 22, 2019 by some Yoruba organisations that met in Ibadan, Oyo State. In his speech, Akintoye said he was humbled to have been highly regarded as the new Yoruba leader by those who assembled at the Ibadan meeting even though he was not present and was not party to their meeting.

According to him, “I hereby humbly respond ‘yes’ to your call, fully and gratefully confident that you all will rise and work dedicatedly and faithfully with me in all efforts to advance the best prospects, the best achievements, and the right destiny for Yoruba nation.” With his acceptance, Yoruba now has a new leader succeeding the late Senator Abraham Adesanya. Since his (Adesanya) demise, Yoruba has not had a unifying leader.

The former lawmaker, however, dismissed the claims in some quarters that a Yoruba leader has never emerged through election, saying that the late Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former Afenifere leader, Senator Adesanya, were both elected at different times by people at specific meetings as Yoruba leaders during their life time.

Akintoye also assured all Yoruba at home and in the Diaspora that he and all those who will work with him will, in all things, uphold and showcase Awolowo’s legacy as the noblest and proudest modern legacy of Yoruba nation. He said: “We commit ourselves to relating and interacting positively without discrimination with the Yoruba politician, the elected Yoruba public official and professional bureaucrats at every level of government in Nigeria, the governments of all Yoruba states and the governments of our local government areas, all to the end that they will consciously employ their positions, power and influence for uplifting, uniting, empowering and enriching our Yoruba nation.

“Our whole perception of the leadership of today’s Yoruba nation shall be that it does not interfere with partisan politics and politicians, but that it encourages our whole nation and its leading citizens to strive bravely for excellence, prosperity and power, and towards the true national destiny of our nation.”