Yorubas of Atlanta

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.