Afenifere to celebrate 70th anniversary low-key

Members of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, will today (Wednesday) commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foremost Yoruba socio-political group which is regarded as the bedrock of progressive political strand in the Southwest region on a low key. 

The programme for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the group was contained in a statement issued and signed by the chairman organising committee for the anniversary, Chief Supo Shonibare, who said the death of former publicity secretary, Yinka Odumakin, insecurity in the country and COVID 19 pandemic had greatly affected the plan of the group to celebrate the 70th anniversary in a big way. 

He said: “The second wave of COVID 19 and the mayhem by herdsmen and the spate of Kidnapping in Yorubaland in particular, and Nigeria in general has made us to reappraise the programe in the light of present realities.” 

Reminiscing on the formation of Afenifere, Shonibare recalled that “Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his immortal colleagues inched a powerful political movement that changed the face of politics in Africa forever. The first public presentation of Action Group was at a press conference held in Ibadan on the 21st March 1951. 

“Although many were invited, 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. We appreciate the efforts of our heroes past as we stand on their shoulders 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. 

“The party called for an immediate end to British rule and for the development of several social welfare programmes. In 1951, the party won the Western Region election and instituted revolutionary programmes like free education and health”

 

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