If there is one Nigerian that has constantly been in the news lately, it’s the self-styled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho. His house was recently invaded by security operatives made up of a combined force of officers of the DSS and the Nigerian Army. Their mission was to attack, capture and arrest Sunday Igboho and his warrior gang. According to the report made available by the DSS, they met stiff resistance from the Igboho boys who engaged them in a gun shootout which lasted for about an hour. At the end of the duel, two of Igboho’s boys were gunned down while about seven men and a lady were arrested. The pools of blood on the floor and bloodstains in various parts of the house clearly tell the story. Several arms, including some AK-47, were found in his house. But Igboho has since come out to counter the claims of the DSS, saying they do not belong to him and that they were not found in his house. The only weapons he fights with, according to him, are local charms. He also insists seven of his boys were killed not two. Now, as we speak, Igboho has been declared wanted by the DSS and he has since gone into hiding. Yet despite his precarious situation, the man insists there is no going back on the agitation for the Yoruba Nation. He says what the Yorubas want is secession not restructuring and he will stop at nothing until this becomes reality. But in the midst of this saga, these questions have become recurring decimals: where are the prominent Yoruba leaders? What is their stand in all of these? Why are they not throwing their weight behind their son, Sunday Igboho?
According to City People findings, it appears Yoruba leaders have been silent on the agitation issue for a number of reasons. And many have been wondering why this is so. Apart from the Pa Adebanjo led Afenifere group who have openly associated with Igboho but have not been very clear as to where they stand on the issue of secession and Yoruba nation. The Afenifere has always been at the vanguard for the call for restructuring. The call for secession and the creation of the Oodua Republic was not part of their original agenda. Each time they come together to articulate their thoughts, secession was never on the cards. And when Sunday Igboho came up with his agitations, they supported him. They identified with him. But they have are yet to put secession and the possible emergence of Yoruba Nation on the front burner of their agitations. They have been very careful not to confuse the people about what they want and what they stand for.
One of the general impression many have as to the reason why the Yoruba leaders are not coming out in support of Igboho is the fact that they afraid of being witch-hunted by the government who now see anyone standing by Igboho as an enemy of the state. And you can’t blame them. The government has everything at its disposal to make life difficult for anyone who chooses to dine with their perceived enemies. And if truth be told, this is perhaps the biggest reason why the young man has been left to carry his cross alone after the unholy invasion of his house. Politicians especially have been the most silent. With their sights set on 2023, none of them is willing to risk anything that could throw spanners in the works for them come the 2023 elections. Silently, secretly, they share in Igboho’s aspirations but lack the courage to come out and openly endorse him.
For many others, it is not about the lack of courage, it is more about their lack of conviction in the call for secession. A large chunk of the Yoruba elites and leaders are wary about the timing of the call for secession. They do not agree that it is the right time. And they wonder if indeed Igboho carried the generality of the Yorubas along and consulted widely enough before embarking on his one-man crusade. This group of elites believe firmly in the unity of the country and the continued existence of the entity called Nigeria. They hold firmly the position that a well-articulated call for restructuring is all that we need to address all of the challenges threatening our unity. They are also wary that forcefully dumping Nigeria cannot possibly happen without war or bloodshed and that’s something they don’t want to see happen.
It must also be said that Sunday Igboho has had a frosty relationship with a handful of Yoruba traditional rulers, notably the Ooni of Ife, Alake of Egba land and a couple of others. It will also be recalled that when Pastor Adeboye lost his son months ago, Igboho said in a video that went viral that he would never sympathize with the clergy, instead, he wished many more clergies who have failed to identify with the Oduduwa Republic will also lose their children to the cold hands of death just like Adeboye. This could also be part of the reasons why traditional rulers have decided to give the young man a wide berth and leave him to fight his battles alone. Igboho’s crude method is another factor. Many find it hard to come out openly to show him solidarity because of his open declaration of war against Fulani herdsmen and the Buhari government. His proclamation of waging war against the northerners with Juju has also been regarded by many as laughable in some quarters. Agitation for secession can never be achieved by brandishing local charms, it will only be taken seriously when you get intellectuals to properly articulate your demands and push them through the appropriate channels and getting all bodies within the international community involved. The elites and other intellectuals will not take such agitation seriously until it has some semblance of proper organization and intelligent planning. This probably explains why there have been no significant personalities, apart from the Afenifere group and perhaps the fire-spitting Femi Fani Kayode, behind him. Lately, the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has been coming out to drum support for the Yoruba warrior, insisting the government must let him be as he has done nothing constitutionally wrong.
There are signs though that there could be series of meetings of Yoruba leaders going on underground. It is in the best interest of not just Igboho but the entire Yoruba race that Yoruba leaders should come together and speak with one voice against the perceived marginalization and oppression of the northern powers. How true these signs are, and how fruitful these underground meetings have been would be manifest in the coming weeks.
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