That Gumi’s Stopover In Igboho | Sam Nwaoko


    SHEIKH Ahmad Gumi is trending again. His name is now on the lips of everyone in Igboho, the headquarters of Oorelope LGA of Oyo State. The man reminds one of the case of the áfókéèmù – that person whose deed has an impact on everyone around in the family. Áfókéèmù, according to my Ibadan friends, is that person who broke the gourd with which the household drinks water. The same gourd is called Ókón in my variant of the Igbo language. It is that natural long-armed ‘cup’ which is always found on the family’s water pot. Whoever needs a drink would just pick it, take water, drink and replace it. We used this natural utensil at the denouement of primary school. It later gave way to modernity – it was replaced by the undying enamel cup, then that too was relegated by the malleable plastic of this plastic era… But the ókón or ìkéèmù is a product of nature. Whoever breaks this ‘essential commodity’ will always be mentioned whenever any member of the household runs to the earthen pot of water and can’t find the handy gourd. The mouth won’t leave the name of the person who breaks the drinking gourd. That’s roughly how the Ibadan say it.

    Relate that to when you lose the ball you all play with in the neighbourhood… Well, that’s the áfókèèmù simply. Literally. Otherwise, the áfókèèmù is simply a trouble maker, or someone whose actions cause trouble or that person whose actions land in trouble. He is that one person that would almost always be the suspect as soon as issues arise. He is like the character, Wilson in Anezi Okoro’s hilarious book “One Week, One Trouble.”

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    Sheikh Gumi is the current áfókéèmù champion. His recent visit to – no, he said it was a stop-over at – Igboho has earned him this sobriquet. The man, who has come to be known more by his advocacy for deadly bandits, said he went to Ilesha Baruba in Kwara State to attend the turbaning ceremony of the Fulani chief in the community. According to the Leadership newspaper, Sheikh Gumi said that the emir (could be that of Ilesha Baruba) had invited him to witness the turbaning of Ardo Hassan Yusuf as the Sarkin Fulani of the town. So, it was not that he set out to Igboho and that his making a stopover at the important town in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State is just a coincidence.

    Indeed, Gumi has not committed any offence by travelling through the country. He has also done nothing wrong in exercising his right to free movement around the country. However, there would not have been any fuss if Gumi had made his journey through Oke Ogun quietly. Okay, that’s also within his rights. He said he was fascinated by the beauty of the area so much that he needed to do a video to call for unity and reiterate the need for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians of all shades and character. Beautiful! The issue however is that in his enchantment, he chose Igboho of all the towns and villages on his way to and from Ilesha Baruba, to record his provocative video. That doesn’t appear pedestrian. It is not unimaginative. His act is stuffed with meanings, especially when the person of Gumi as well as the things said in the video are weighed. And Gumi should not expect any reasonable Nigerian to believe the crap that he didn’t know there was a town called Igboho.

    Gumi might not know how he is mirrored in the South, although that’s also arguable. His strong, unrelenting advocacy for kidnappers, bandits and rampaging terrorists has tainted him. His opinions are viewed from the prism of his activities on banditry. The reported southward exodus of these bandits, following the belated bombardment of their enclaves by the Nigerian military, is a cause for a deep worry for the wary South. Gumi should know these. Gumi should know that, by his bandit-advocacy, he is beyond trusting, especially on the part of Southerners. So, why would there not be reactions to his video in Igboho? It can be said that Gumi in any town in the south might attract reactions similar to those witnessed from the people of Igboho, if the visit is of a similar hue.

    This man, in explaining his offensive video at Igboho, has further vitiated the angry reaction of the people of the town and the region. He is reported to have said: “I saw a beautiful town with the name Igboho as we were passing through I was told it is Sunday Igboho’s town. It was a wonderful town. We saw churches and mosques. A professor with us said ‘you see, ordinary Nigerians are living in peace, it is the elite that are causing problems for Nigerians’. We didn’t enter Igboho town.”

    The professor that went with Gumi to Ilesha Baruba is Usman Yusuf, a former chairman of the National Health Insurance Agency. He is a professor of hematology-oncology and bone marrow transplantation. He studied at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and has practiced medicine across three continents – Africa, Europe and North America – after his MBBS in 1982. That is how he is described by Wikipedia. It means that Yusuf is not unaware of what is going on around him. The professor sure knows his right from his left and he said the things attributed to him. But he began his speech by saying: “This is Igboho made popular by a detainee in Benin Republic” before saying “Nigeria is one and will always remain one.” This reference to Igboho as a community and its people, especially Sunday Adeyemo, is measured and tactful but is most unreasonable. It betrayed the real thoughts the expedition team to Igboho harboured about the community and its people. Usman’s mocking of the people is not just annoying, it is provocative and there’s everything wrong in willful provocation.

    So, why is Gumi surprised that the people of Igboho rose as one against what they saw as an insult and a desecration of their land? The people stoutly rose in defence of their land as Usman and Gumi would have done if they saw the need to. I believe that the pride with which the people of Igboho reacted to the snide of Gumi and his team should teach some lessons to the South East people. How they rose in support of their son is also instructive. When you don’t sell your relation cheaply, it is not possible to buy him back at an exorbitant price.

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