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SUNDAY IGBOHO: The Focus On The Messenger And Why I Think Alaafin Should Be Involved | Oyeleru Oyedemi

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Many would call Mr. Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) a hoodlum, a thug, a rabble rouser, and so on. In their analysis, a lot will focus on his lack of college education, inability to speak perfect English, his uncouth language and unguarded utterances which at times is almost to a point of infantile nonsense. While I acknowledge all of these errors of Mr. Igboho, I disagree with the labels some would give him in their attempt to downgrade his efforts in fighting for what he believes in. I hearken to say, that by focusing on the messenger, we are losing the importance of the message, and by harping on his errors, we are just falling into the trap of repeating the past mistakes of running away from the truth, scratching issues on the surface, sweep issues under the carpet until they come back to bite us in the back, or simply pretending that the issues raised by someone we don’t like are not germaine. Every ethnic group and Nigeria as a nation have fallen victim of these errors. I suggest that we have a change of attitude.

May I be clear that I regard Chief Sunday Igboho as an activist. An activist is “a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.” In that definition, the words “educated”, “spotless”, or “errorless” does not come up. Unless we want to fool ourselves, Sunday Igboho simply brought to the fore, issues millions discuss in hush tones in their homes but are too afraid to confront frontally. That is what an activist does. To those who discount Sunday Igboho based on lack of his advanced education, although this is a stretch, we must be reminded that George Washington had only primary or elementary school education if at all. Yet he was perhaps one of the greatest war commanders God will ever create. And, don’t say Sunday Igboho does not have an army. Nigeria has already created an army of unemployed, unemployable, jobless and hopeless youths and adults of many generations, many of whom will not be afraid to die for anything, especially when a demagogue appears and riled them through a topic that could make them act, like ethnicity. When writers and opinion builders say Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, they are talking about this army over whose need our leaders have failed to address over many years of misrule. You must also agree with me that issues raised by Mr. Sunday Igboho bothers on ethnic variation. Because of the way Nigeria is sadly divided over ethnic lines, unless you restrain yourself, you may find yourself lured into that ethnic stupidity that has denied Nigeria of its desired progress. Therefore, finding an army that Sunday Igboho will lead in his quest may not be difficult.

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As you focus your attack your on Sunday Igboho, you must ask yourself, does he have a point? Is there a message here, or is he just blowing hot gas? It is by doing that and focusing on the message that you could see issues from a better perspective. Then you ask whether he is asking questions in the open which many of us only ask behind our keyboards due to our fears. Is Sunday Igboho bringing to the open, the disgraceful issue of having farms destroyed and produce therein eaten up by herders and their cows? Is he bringing up the sad issue of situations where the herders did not just destroy farms, but they also maim, rape and kill the farmers, women and children? Is he bringing up issues of certain head of Non-Yoruba herders negotiating ransom on behalf of Yoruba victims? Did Yorubas and Nigeria gain anything from his activism. I say Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes to all the above.

I can write on this topic because I have first hand knowledge of spending on farms only to have the produce eaten up by cows and the farm destroyed. I have a 15 acre corn farm from which I harvested a few bowls of dried corn at the end of the day. I have a 20 acre farm from which I harvested about two bags of dried corn. I have at least another 25 acre of cassava plantation ruined by cows. In case you have no idea, an acre of land will gulp at least N40,000 for an acre of corn from ploughing to harvesting (14k for 2 times ploughing, N1,500 for the corn, N8,000 + for fertilizer. N14k to how twice). That is not to talk of labor. It is not just the amount that goes in, it is also the loss of the harvest that can never take place. You will harvest at least a pickup truck of cassava from an acre of land. if you had 25 acres, you will get at least N3,700,000 (Three Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) at the rate of 150k per pickup (now it is about N190k per pickup). We have farmers who have more loss than me, and you have to factor them into your equation.

Have you considered lives lost, property destroyed, women raped, and people displaced from their homes from the activities of the herders? For many years, our people have clamored for government involvement, with little done. I can say the Nigerian Police actually do try their best on this issue because I had on many occasions got them to warn herders who encroached on the farm, and many have got compensation. Until Sunday Igboho brought the issue of Igangan in Ibarapa to the fore, we must not forget that there were daily cries for help from that axis, with no respite for the people. Now, compared to the days before Sunday Igboho appeared, how many killings have the people experienced since he came out to challenge the status quo. The death of Dr. Aborode actually gained no due attention until Sunday Igboho raised it many times. Do we remember that? Now, we know that PDP stalwarts may have been involved in his murder. The question is, how long has the government known that PDP leaders were involved in his killing for political reasons. Even if the government cannot reveal the extent of its investigations and the name of suspects, there is nothing bad in telling the populace there was an ongoing investigation, the extent of the investigation, and areas they are looking at regarding the investigation, especially to calm people down under tense situation. Trust me, despite not being taken proper care of, the Nigerian Police can crack practically any crime when they are interested. My point is here is that it should not take Sunday Igboho to put a searchlight on Dr. Aborode’s case. How about other similar cases? We should be asking.

How about the key issue of who is selling AK-47s to the herders??

As I write, there are Yorubas of Ogun State extraction in Republic of Benin who are refugees because their homes have been destroyed and they’ve been expelled from their home by the herders. Why aren’t we united in asking questions about that. I think we should, and it should not take a Sunday Igboho to raise such issues. Can we go back and talk about the plight of these refugees???

Furthermore, at the basic level, Miyetti Allah advocated for the herders. We should ask, who is representing the farmers whose farms have been destroyed???. Most of the herders are said to be from other countries, especially Niger Republic. Assuming this is true, it means they must enter Nigeria through Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe or Borno State. Assuming they pass through Jigawa, they have to pass through Bauchi, Plateau, Nassarawa, Kogi, Ekiti/Osun before they get to Ogun State. Now the question we must all answer is this: Alll these States in Northern Nigeria has hundreds of thousands of acres of corn and other produce financed by the government which has irrigation and from where the southerners sadly buy their produce. Is the corn up north not suitable for these cows? Why is none of the farmers up northern Nigeria not required to fence their farms? Why are we not hearing issues about cows destroying farms and eating up their produce??? The herders are to be compensated for what now? Again, where is the compensation for farmers in the South. Who is advocating for these farmers???

A good player will know when to hold, when to fold and when to walk away. That is what differentiates good players and Great War commanders from others. In his utterances, Sunday Igboho has made some statements that someone in his right sense will never utter. I don’t think there is any Yoruba or Nigerian in his right senses who would wish Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu dead. I do not think there is any Yoruba in his right sense who will insult the Ooni, or even Oluwo. There is no Yoruba man in his right sense who will dare attack Yoruba Obas. This is where Sunday Igboho’s mouth ran faster than his leg and his mouth fell and landed on the back of his foot. But guess what, while many of us are writing about Mr. Igboho’s vituperations against Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban himself is busy laughing at us and saying, “this kid just had too much to drink, just leave him alone.” The Obas that Sunday Igboho insulted knew that he dare not carry out any physical action against them. If those Obas wanted him gone, I doubt if he would be alive. However, it may be a matter of “Omode siwo lu Iroko tan, o n boju weyin. Oluwere kii ja loojo!” I pray the Obas will forgive him.

Now, Sunday Igboho banking on the same spiritual power that Abimbola Iroko Akanbi (Legbeejure, Fada owo e pa jakumo, Kiniun eti Ajadi tii wo Ikoko Lewu Ajere), used in Ijaye war centuries ago, is nothing but a sign of the limitations of his understanding of modern warfare. He must be banking on the warriors he could see physically. However, an AK-47 in the hands of a sharpshooter can travel 400 meters while shooting 600 rounds per minute. An M16 assault riffle can easily travel 550 meters with a rate of 800 rounds per minute. If Sunday Igboho survives a military assault. How about the collateral damage and casualties that will ensue. In actual fact, the government may not even engage in any physical assault to get Mr. Igboho. There is something called intelligence in both the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian military. The head of the Agbekoyas was likely as powerful, if not powerful than Sunday Igboho. What happened?

I would have been the first to say that Mr. Igboho’s utterances has not amounted to a challenge to the sovereignty of Nigeria, but when he started talking about being involved in border opening and/closing, that takes his action beyond ordinary activism, and it may have created the exact opening the Nigerian Police and its military have been waiting for. By that, he could be labelled practically anything, including a non-state actor in military action against the State. Once the military is involved, my friends, there will be casualties, as soldiers are trained simply to kill. When I saw those two soldiers who were allegedly apprehended by persons said to be loyal to Mr. Sunday Igboho, I almost cried for Mr. Igboho and his men. My solder’s instinct simply kicked in. I asked, “How do you apprehend soldiers in their uniform who did not attack anyone. If there would be intelligent gathering, do you think such officers involved would be in uniform?”. I felt that they may have woken up a sleeping python. Such actions never end well. Many may have been clapping for Mr. Igboho or even celebrate his accomplishments in a senseless war of Yorubas against Yorubas. But, as even people who were trained in the act of modern warfare know, the Yoruba adage that, “Ogun o ri bi iyan, ogun o ri bi eko. Koda ogun o ri bi Oka ti awon sesede n pe l’Amala.” It is not about the target of the war itself, but the heavy collateral damage that result therefrom. In military parlance, it is blood that makes the green grass grow. My friends, I pray we don’t experience war. It is not a joke; and you are hearing this from someone who was trained in the act of warfare and has seen at least one firsthand. Now, this is the reason that I feel that Iku Baba Yeye, The Alaafin of Oyo should intervene, especially in talking sense to Mr. Igboho.

WHY KABIYESI ALAAFIN MUST INTERVENE

Mr. Igboho’s activism is all about the interests of Yorubas, according to him. As long as we fail to take advantage of the blessings which an over 200 million in population, good soil, great weather, immense mineral resources and highly educated populace can give us; and as long as we continue to see issues from ethnic divides, the cry of secession will continue. The fact remains that, secession or division of Nigeria can only take place within an intellectual framework. Not until the political leaders and elites unite will Nigeria disintegrate. I feel we stand to benefit more form Nigeria’s Unity than its integration, we just need to properly manage our differences and listen to the voice of those who otherwise have no voice, like Yoruba farmers in this case.

I feel Mr. Igboho has made his point, and the Yoruba, nay Nigeria has benefitted from his agitation. However, he needs to know when to shut his mouth and stop talking, so the Yoruba nation doesn’t lose whatever benefit his agitation has brought. He must be reminded that, once the analysis of his utterances is escalated and his guys continue to arrest soldiers, he will be tagged an enemy of the state and he may succeed in bringing war to the people he claim he is agitating for. I am not worried about the repercussions over Mr. Igboho, but on the Yoruba nation. Especially at this very delicate time in our history.

Kabiyesi Alaafin is in the best position to talk sense to Mr. Igboho, because, should there be any military assault, it will happen in Yoruba land, so will be the destructions from such assault. Yoruba land and Nigeria don’t need all these. Not only is Kabiyesi Alaafin an activist Oba himself, Kabiyesi has written numerous memos, publications and letters to the topmost echelon of military and civilian authorities in Nigeria over these issues, and he could give Mr. Igboho a lesson on why his agitations must fall within a certain guideline. Mr. Igboho has insulted the Ooni and other Obas, Kabiyesi Alaafin could MANDATE Mr. Igboho to go plead with these Obas.

Yorubas have seen the fall of many of their great men and women. Despite his numerous errors, I still believe Mr. Sunday Igboho is an asset to Yoruba land. That is why Alaafin’s intervention may save him from a possible death as this will curb his excesses. This is a country where two Aare Ona Kakanfo were killed by Nigerian military and it got away with it.

It may be worth Kabiyesi’s while to remind Mr. Igboho that, he may be playing to the script of certain elements like a movie we’ve all seen before, especially when power is about to rotate to the South. If Mr. Sunday Igboho does not listen to anyone else, I am convinced he will likely listen to Iku Baba Yeye. Aa ni r’ogun o!!!

I rest.

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