The Birth of the Yorubas of Atlanta


Shola Adeleke

If  we are meant to achieve greatness, we must overcome great trials.  The  Yorubas of Atlanta did not come into existence by accident.  All  Yorubas, wherever they may reside, have natural inclination for  togetherness.  As diverse as we are, there is  a unique bond in the  subconscious realm of each individual that always calls for an umbrella  organization that will cater to the needs of our people.  It is no  wonder, therefore, that whenever two or more Yorubas get together, the  conversation always centers on the need for a Yoruba organization and  Yoruba unity.

In 1989, a group of about ten Yorubas began to host  a New Year party for their friends and family in Norcross, Georgia.   They got together, contributed funds and invited people free of charge.   The idea of a Yoruba organization was conceived at this time, not in  specific terms, but in passing.  A few members from the group played  with the idea of an organization.  The problem was, no action was ever  taken to give birth to the organization.

By  some divine predestination,  I became acquainted with Mr. Victor Ola  Pacheco in late 1992.  The moment we met, the subject centered on an  organization for our people.  It was Mr. Pacheco’s view that we needed a  professional organization that would cater to the need of our people.   Shortly thereafter, Mr. Pacheco formed an Investment Association which  later became United Business Associates, Incorporated.  Seventy-Five  percent of the membership of this association were Yorubas.

I  have the opportunity to be associated with many Nigerians from other  parts of the country, and it was my observation that many of our  colleagues have specific organizations that cater to their people’s  needs.  Only the Yorubas did not deem it necessary to have a viable  organization for its people.  I have had the honor of meeting many of  our people at different functions in Atlanta, and to confirm what I  already perceived, the discussion always centered on Yoruba unity and  the need for a Yoruba voice.  Have all the dreams you may, have all the  wonderful ideas the world has ever see, have all the discussions or  talks about what ought to be, without action, it’s all vanity!

It  begins with just one,  spreads to many and ultimately affects all of  us!  The date was July 4, 1993.  The place was Mr. Taiwo Osinaiya’s  residence.  The occasion was the birth of his daughter.  The Osinaiyas  had been blessed with a baby-girl a few  days earlier.  As is customary  among our people, some of us went over there to rejoice with the  family.  Within a few minutes,  the discussion began with various  topics, and eventually centered on a Yoruba Organization.  Joined in the  discussion were myself, Mr. Wahab Alabi, Mr. Taiwo Osinaiya, and one  other gentleman.  Fearing that this discussion would end up like many of  such conversations in the past, which led nowhere, I suggested that we  set a date and place to form a Yoruba organization.  Mr. Alabi supported  the idea.  We decided to act.  I volunteered to host the first meeting   and a date was set for August 28, 1993.  And so, a Yoruba organization  was conceived with a commitment to act.

It was a beautiful August  evening. Warm clear skies, full of promises.  True to the nature of our  people,  they came! Barbecued ribs, corn and baked potatoes were making  little sounds to welcome the August visitors.  The gods were definitely  with us! It was my belief that Oduduwa was smiling on us, Osaala was  singing our praises to the heavens, and Ogun was watching the skies for  us.  The Yorubas have come together to unite and form an organization!

Present  at this INAUGURAL meeting were Mr. Kunle Masha, Mr. Banji Olaleye, Mr.  Victor Pacheco, Mr. Femi Akindele, Mr. Abiodun Zaka, Mr. Ishmail Akande,  Mr. Taiwo Osinaiya, Mr. Wahab Alabi and Mr. Shola Adeleke, Six other  people came as guests.

The participants unanimously agreed at the  meeting that a Yoruba organization was long overdue.  It was decided  that the meeting should be held once each month.  The venue would be by  rotation at the members’ home, on a voluntary basis.  It was decided  that a committee would be charged with the task of finding a suitable  name for the organization.  At subsequent meetings, the committee  recommended, and the house voted to accept The Yorubas of Atlanta as the  official name of the organization.

Credit goes to all the  members of the organization.  I salute all of you for your courage and  sacrifice.  You have laid a foundation of all things to come for  posterity.  All you have to do now is build on the foundation.   Remember, it is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you  can only do a little.  It is the little things combined that create  GREATNESS.