May 12, 2021
By Dele Adeoluwa
I have been a silent admirer of Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, for his courage and sacrifices for the Yoruba cause. Forget about his methods; he could be abrasive sometimes. That is expected because bohemian tendencies are the traits of most warlords; but he is a man who has the courage of his convictions.
I am ordinarily a man of peace. As a matter of fact, I loathe every appearance of violence. And I advocate against it at every opportunity I have, because I believe you can hardly achieve anything meaningful in an atmosphere of tension, panic and violence. Even the most virulent wars are most times brought to a denouement of a sort on the table of negotiation.
However, any government that shirks its responsibility of providing security for its people makes the rise of people like Sunday Igboho inevitable, because nature abhors a vacuum. Is ensuring the security of lives and property not the first and most basic responsibility of any government?
So, a government that abandons a people to their fate in the face of a monstrous adversary is literally telling them to resort to self-help or roast in the fire of their trouble. And any man in captivity will grab every strand of help from wherever it comes, even from his arch enemy.
This was the sort of scenario that threw up Sunday Igboho. Sometime last year, Igangan and environs in Oyo State suddenly came under a security siege. Vicious herders were visiting a most savage ‘rule’ on the people, kidnapping them at will for hefty ransoms. The goons were alleged to have also indulged in a raping binge, many times violating housewives in the presence of their hapless husbands!
The people seethed in this cauldron for some time, crying for help that failed to come. It was at this time that a Sunday Adeyemo appeared on the scene and handed down a seven-day ultimatum to the killer- herders in Igangan to stop their heinous activities, get out of town or risk his rage.
At the expiration of the ultimatum, Igboho came back and like a whirlwind sacked the rapacious marauders from the area. The Seriki Fulani of Igangan himself was to confess, in an interview with an online medium, that he had never witnessed the sort of rage displayed by Igboho and his “army” in his life. Trepidation still seized him any time he recalled that day of terror, he was quoted to have said.
From then, there has been no stopping the Igboho cyclone. He began to go after murderous herders in other Southwest communities and has since graduated into championing Yoruba self-determination. He has, however, had to face serious risks to his personal safety; his properties had been attacked many times, while he is also being hunted for by security agencies like a criminal.
It is doubtful if an independent Yoruba nation can be realised through a rather perfunctory method since isolated secession is an invitation to genocidal war. Nevertheless, Igboho is today a folk hero among many people in the Southwest, who see him as a ‘saviour’ of a sort and a child of necessity.
And as bohemian as his methods could be, he is only after the evil-minded herders. Peace-loving Fulani herders, who have been co-inhabiting peacefully with their host communities for ages, have no problem with him.
In fact, some of the well-meaning Fulani herders, who themselves have been the butt of attacks, actually joined a security team put together sometime last year by the Oyo State government to raid some forests in the state and flush out many of the bilious herders and bandits.
However, Igboho at the weekend decided to fish in troubled waters by allegedly making uncomplimentary remarks against the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enock Adejare Adeboye, over the death of his third son, Dare, on Wednesday May5, at Eket in Akwa Ibom State.
In a Facebook live video last Saturday, he was said to have rejected the counsel of his media aide, Olayemi Koiki, to commiserate with the highly revered man of God because, according to him, he (Adeboye) does not support the Yoruba nation, neither has he rallied his large congregation to embrace that cause.
He was quoted to have said, among other comments: “Anybody who does not support Yoruba nation, those who have the power, be it pastors or anybody that has the followers, but does not support Yoruba nation, God I call on you …. Those elders who see our sufferings, who see that the Fulani are kidnapping us and collecting ransom but choose not to support us, as you kill their children, kill their wives…”
My immediate reaction when I stumbled on the story was one of alarm and incredulity. I was thus not surprised at the backlash that greeted the broadcast from many infuriated Nigerians on the social media. For one, it is totally anti-Yoruba culture to disparage the dead and the bereaved.
Like the Yoruba will say: “Bi a ba n ja, kii se bii ti’ku;” meaning: “You don’t rejoice at the bereavement of a neighbour simply because you are quarrelling with him or her.”
Besides, it is uncharitable to have addressed an elder in the mould of a towering personality like Pastor Adeboye in such an uncouth language. Those words he deployed are quite intemperate, disrespectful and totally gratuitous. Daddy G.O., as Adeboye is fondly called, is a complete personification of uncanny humility, integrity and nobility. He is undoubtedly one of the most respected men of God on the planet earth today. He is a pride to the Yoruba race, the nation and the entire body of Christ the world over. So, the least that he deserves in his hour of grief is sympathy and prayers.
It is, however, gratifying that wise counsel prevailed and Igboho had recanted. In another video released on Sunday night, the warlord denied ever mocking, insulting or cursing Pastor Adeboye.
“I was asked a question about the death of his (Adeboye’s) son,” he declared, adding: “How will I mock him and his son’s death? I can’t pray that his son should die. I didn’t say anything negative about him. I said elders who have the power to assist the Yoruba race but choose not to, I rained curses on them.”
He added: “God who created us knows when we will go back. Whoever mocks the dead will also die one day…. How will I mock the dead? I didn’t insult him. May God forgive the dead and may his son’s soul rest in peace. May our father (Adeboye) live long.”
The recant is a welcome relief. However, Igboho should realise that everyone is not obliged to necessarily toe the same line with him in the quest for the way out of the worsening insecurity in the land.
Besides, for Igboho to continue to be taken seriously, he needs to learn from the pitfalls of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who no longer enjoys the support of Igbo elite and other serious-minded Southeast people owing largely to his uncouth language and other excesses. He needs to adopt a more conciliatory approach and inject civility into his utterances.
Culled from the Nation Newspaper
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