Yoruba Council of Elders Europe and North America swears-in its executive at London AGM

DIASPORAN cultural organisation the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) Europe and North America held its annual general meeting (AGM) in London over the weekend during which it swore-in its officials and committed itself to upholding the values of Nigeria's founding fathers.


At the meeting which took place in southwest London, the YCE returned Otunba Mbolaji Falase as its president and Erelu Lola Ayorinde as it secretary, with Anthony Adesina elected as treasurer. Members of the central coordinating committee Otunba Onikoyi, Dr Lai Soile, Jerome Adedeji, Wale Sadare, Danjuma Hassan, Ayo Faleti, Dr Ademola Adekunle and Councillor Rotimi Ogunbadewa.


All officials were elected for a one year tenure until the next AGM and will run the YCE for the next 12 months during which they will organise numerous seminars. At the event, author Ayo Akinfe was invited to be the guest speaker, where he spoke about leadership, quoting examples from his new book Black Ladder, enjoining YCE members to adhere to the principles laid down by Yoruba pioneers like Chief Obafemi Awolowo.


Otunba Falase added: "We Yorubas need to go back to the principles of dignity and decency which characterised the Awolowo era when people conducted themselves like an omoluabi. Today, we have lost those values as greed, money, a thirst for power and a lack of civic responsibilities have become commonplace."


Erelu Ayorinde also enjoined members to try and rekindle the spirit which led to the founding of YCE in the first place. She added that this included avoiding acrimony and putting any complaints in writing and sending them to the central coordinating committee.


Black Ladder details the unspoken and hidden odds stacked against black Britons in the British private sector. This 100,000-word book exposes the reality behind all the rhetoric about equal opportunity, black empowerment and social inclusion.


Its central character Suji Mustapha, is an innocent, fresh, 24-year old Nigerian insurance graduate who arrives in the UK from Nigeria. Despite all the odds stacked against him, however, Suji laboured on, studied, worked hard and became the first African-born director of a merchant bank in the City of London.


In his speech, Mr Akinfe pointed out that this spirit needs to be built upon and the lessons learnt need to be taken back to Nigeria to help develop the country. Delegates, who bought the book enthusiastically, pointed out that it is a shame that many diasporans go back to Nigeria and jettison all they have learnt in Europe.