The leader of the apex body of the Yoruba self-determination struggle, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, octogenarian Prof. Banji Akintoye, says he is stepping down from his position, citing old age and weakened body system.
The 87-year-old has handed over the baton of leadership to his Deputy, Prof. Wale Adeniran.
In a letter addressed to Adeniran given to Persecondnews, Akintoye clarified that he did not resign from the position to evade responsibility over the crisis rocking the self-determination group.
He said for more than a year he had wanted to take his leave of Ilana Omo Oodua, pointing out that combining the duties of Ilana with the duties of the greatly elevated demands of the Self-determination struggle had been too heavy for him at his age.
Akintoye stated: “Dear Wale, I write this letter to you in your position as Chairman of Ilana Omo Oduduwa to congratulate you and the newly elected Executive Council of Ilana.
“I also hereby inform Ilana through you of my departure from further responsibilities in Ilana. I urge you and all others not to think that this step is a consequence of recent difficulties in Ilana.
“As you know better than any other person, I have been seeking for over a year now to take my leave from Ilana because combining the duties of Ilana with the duties of the greatly elevated demands of the Self-determination Struggle has been too heavy for me at my age.
“I am greatly honored that you as the closest person to me in Ilana, most Ilana members, and all Ilana committees, have for months been urging me not to leave Ilana because, according to you all, Ilana is my special ‘baby’ in the whole self-determination struggle.
“But you would remember that in a special meeting of leaders of the self-determination struggle from all over the world about a month ago, you and all the other meeting participants agreed graciously that I should give up my duties in Ilana because of my heavy accumulation of duties to the higher levels of the whole struggle.
“As for our current difficulties in Ilana, I am sure you would testify that I am not leaving because of them, and that, in general, even the greatest of difficulties never make me quit.
” I am imbued with God-given confidence that I can bear all things and solve the most tortuous complications among men, because God in His mercy has given me the gift of a heart that loves all persons in all situations.
“Still, I must ask you to forgive me for leaving Ilana to you in its current condition. I had wanted to leave Ilana immediately after the special meeting of worldwide leaders about a month ago, but I decided to help you to iron out some of the ongoing difficulties before leaving.
“Unfortunately, things have not improved as quickly as I expected, and you now have to face a situation in which some of our extremists are still compounding the difficulties.
“However, I have much confidence in you – including confidence that you will find ways to steer our Ilana back to the path of compromise, unity and strength.
“Finally, I must congratulate and thank you for your very high quality of leadership in this struggle for our embattled nation.
“I must congratulate and thank you, particularly for your bearing with strength and fortitude the frequent vilifications and false accusations.
“We who have stepped out bravely to liberate our Yoruba nation and to save it from being destroyed by the destructive forces of Nigeria are going through a lot of fire from our own people.
“No doubt, we shall soon be hearing from some habitual detractors that it was you who disloyally plotted against me and made me to leave Ilana, but we must not let such talk bother us in any way.”
Expressing the hope of victory in the struggle, the professor of history, also said: “By the grace of God, we shall win this war and liberate our Yoruba nation, and thereby giving our nation the freedom it desires to develop into a greatly respected modern country in the world.
“Of course, you know that I shall always be available to you – to you personally as a friend and close associate in the higher levels of the Self-determination Struggle, and to Ilana as Patron and Mentor in the way that I am Patron and Mentor to other Self-determination Organizations.
“I thank God for His leadership qualities in you and thank you for giving yourself so unstintingly to our struggle for our nation. Accept my best wishes for you and your family.”
Profile of Akintoye
Prof. Stephen Adebanji Akintoye, born in 1935 in Ekiti (created from Ondo State in 1996), made a successful foray into the politics and was elected into the Nigerian Senate from 1979–1983 during the Second Republic on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria UPN) led by its presidential candidate, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
An academic, historian and writer of international repute, Akintoye attended Christ’s School Ado Ekiti, from 1951–195] and studied History at the University College (Overseas College of the University of London), Ibadan (1956–1961), and doctoral studies from 1963-1966 at the University of Ibadan, where he was awarded a Ph.D in History in 1966.
He taught at the History Department at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he became a professor and Director of the Institute of African Studies from 1974-1977, according to Wikipedia.
He has also taught African History in universities in the United States including the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida; Montgomery County Community College, PA, and Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Akintoye has written four books, chapters in many joint books, and several articles in scholarly journals.