SUNDAY IGBOHO: The Mouthpiece And Enforcer - News at its peak

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SUNDAY IGBOHO: The Mouthpiece And Enforcer

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By MUIDEEN OLALEKAN OLAGUNJU --- I met Sunday Igboho (more appropriately Chief Sunday Adeyemo) for the first time in Oyo in late 2014. I had just been picked as the House of Assembly candidate of Accord in the run up to the 2015 election. Senator Ladoja was in Plaza D’Aruna Hotel for a stakeholders’ meeting and I was a tad late. I rushed to the venue but two tough looking guys who manned the entrance door of the meeting place prevented my entry. The entreaties of my supporters to the guys fell on deaf ears as it seemed they had orders not to allow anyone in once the meeting had commenced.



I became slightly exasperated and picked issues with the guys. A rather unassuming man of medium height approached me and asked what the problem was. I did not speak too kindly about the bouncers. He asked me to calm down and I replied him dismissively that I was not going to calm down. The man was about to flip his lid. I could see he was becoming livid but I was confident no one would beat me up with Ladoja in the vicinity. Moreover, my supporters were on ground. One of my supporters rushed to me and whispered into my ear “Oga e se suru. Sunday Igboho lo mba yin sòrò”. An overwhelming trepidation swept over me. Blood drained from my face. My heart must have skipped a lot of beats. I was petrified. Sunday Igboho ke?! His story was like a spook story. The legend I’d heard so much about. Mo ri re. Before I could say anything, hordes of my supporters surrounded him and hailed him. “Baba, omo yin ni. E ma binu”. I mumbled my apologies too. He calmed down and then led me into the hall where the meeting was ongoing. I felt a kind of privilege yet my heart kept racing. You don’t have a brush with Igboho Oosa and remain calm. Oh well, I am speaking from the point of view of a man who detests trouble. 😁

The opportunity to assess the man came again during 2019 campaigns. He was a strong ally of Ladoja but broke ranks with him to align with Senator Lanlehin after Ladoja dumped the ADC for ZLP. He was present at Durbar Stadium in Oyo and took the microphone to lampoon Ladoja. I hated him immediately. No one can cast aspersions at Ladoja and be in my good books. That’s my own leader and model beyond politics. So when I heard about his ultimatum to Fulanis in Ibarapa, I took the position that he was seeking attention and playing hero. That changed this morning when I listened to his interview on Fresh FM. 

Sunday Igboho is right to take the stand he currently takes. Any form of condemnation from any section of the Yoruba nation is tantamount to gifting the balance of convenience in the intractable matter of Fulani excesses to the Fulanis. The horror stories across the South West should bother us all. Murders, kidnapping for ransom, rapes, robberies and maiming are too rampant. From Oke-Ogun to Ibarapa to Ekiti to Ondo, it’s the same story. Most kidnapping victims have testified that Fulanis took them. In Ibarapa, the Serikin Fulani is reported to be the ransom negotiator. Even the Yoruba King in Igangan had to pay #4 million ransom to get his own son released from the clutches of Fulani kidnappers. A king paying ransom in his own domain to tenants on his land? If we don’t find this abhorrent, then Yorubas will remain within the definition of second class citizens. Is it possible for an Emir or Seriki in the North to be compelled to pay ransom to an Igbo or a Yoruba in his domain? 

In Ibarapa, a man came from abroad to invest in Agriculture. He employed many people. Herders destroyed his crops and he went to report to the Seriki. He was captured and tied to a tree and murdered in the most gruesome manner. A woman who invested in filling stations was murdered when she raised an alarm that she was about to be kidnapped. An old woman who had not had sex for more than 40 years was brutally raped. Younger women are daily assaulted by the filthy elements. 

Through it all, it does not appear the government is willing to prevent or punish anyone for the heinous crimes. There is no basis for widespread crime in any state in Nigeria because all governors receive humongous monthly allowances for security. Some take as much as #7 billion per year from the federal government. They have security forces at their beck and call. They appoint people to be special advisers on security. Still, the lack of capacity to protect lives and properties is glaring. 

There is always a threshold for tolerance. That threshold has been broken in Ibarapa. Sunday Igboho took action, perhaps crudely so, but Ibarapa got the attention it craved from authorities. He is right to feel aggrieved. He is right to go to Ibarapa. He is right to confront the criminals. Thankfully, he is wise enough not to cross his boundaries. He did not maim or kill anyone but he was loud and clear about the resolve not to take the excesses anymore. Who is that Yoruba individual or group who would begrudge him for that? The criminal elements among the Fulanis are brazen. One was made Seriki in Oyo and flouted every rule of humanity by causing deaths and destructions. Their victims could be a Harvard trained Nigerian or the regular Okada rider. They are bloodsuckers who do not care about the anguish families of their victims go through. 

Igboho has spoken like a throughbred Yoruba man. While it is reasonable to de-escalate the anger by putting the lives of Yorubas living up North into consideration, on the flip side, silence and condonation for fear of reprisal is a sign of weakness. 

I call on Governor Makinde to take it from where Sunday Igboho has stopped. Miyetti Allah is such a arrogant organization that the governor needs to rein them in. They are not on the side of peace and justice. Amid all the outrage of the last few years, is Miyetti Allah on record to have called a meeting of all Fulanis in the state to condemn these attacks and then offer to help? Their narratives always tilt towards contradictions of intents. I remember chairing a committee meeting in the House of Assembly where a representative of Miyetti Allah was present. He acted so cockily that I was tempted to walk him out. 

It is trite that society retains institutionalised structures to address EVERY issue through the instrumentality of government. However, the willingness of government to use its instrumentality well is never guaranteed in a society like Nigeria. Therefore, where government fails, it will be hard to criticize citizens who took the initiatives, particularly if it concerns lives. 

The security of lives and properties in Oyo State lies squarely on the big shoulders of the Governor. The time to act decisively is now.

Muideen Olalekan Olagunju writes in Nigeria.



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