By Eric Elezuo
Friday, January 15 was instructive in the history of Yoruba land and its attendant security. That day, while the rest of Nigeria was celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of the both fallen and living soldiers from various wars across the globe during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho and his supporters were storming the Fulani Community in Igangan, Oyo State. Their mission was simple: vacate Igangan community, Oyo State and all other Yoruba communities, which by implication means the South West region. The group, led by the grassroots mobilizer, whom many have labeled a warrior, confronted the Seriki Fulani, Saliu Kadri, and issued a one-week ultimatum for the Fulani to vacate the area.
Igboho had accused Kadri’s subjects of killing Yoruba natives including, according to him, Oyo businessman, Fatai Aborode, Alhaja Serifat Adisa and her children, an Igangan prince, among others. He disclosed that his mission has the backing of traditional rulers on whose bequest, his actions were hinged.
Fast forward to Friday, January 22, 2021 when the ultimatum expired. All eyes had been on Igboho. Many Nigerians waited to see if he was not another noisemaker, especially as the Governor and Chief Executive and Security Officer of the State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, had issued a statement, denouncing Igboho and his men. Makinde declared that his government would not allow anyone hiding under the guise of protecting Yoruba interests to cause ethnic tension and perpetrate crisis, noting in clear terms that no one has the power to expel another ethnic group from wherever they choose to live in Nigeria. He threatened to arrest Igboho and his group of fighters.
The stage was therefore, set for one to back down or enter the barefaced confrontation. Consequently, tensions were high on Friday as expectations were vague. No one knows what to expect. Would Igboho dare the state government or chicken out of his mission? He chose the former. He dared the Makinde-led administration.
Against all expectations and as expected, depending on the divide one is, Igboho mobilised a huge number of supporters and as he promised, marched to the Fulanis, and drove them out from their abode.
The young man, who in recent times, had added popular and Yoruba activist to his list of appellations, was received with much excitement by hundreds of youths with singing and dancing when he marched into Igangan, in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.
Speaking in rapid Yoruba, with intermittent incursion of English, a visibly-angry Ighoho vowed that Fulani herdsmen will be chased away from the town and entire Yorubaland for inciting insecurity and banditry.
“What is happening will not be limited to this place, we will drive out Fulani from entire Yorubaland. They want to be killing us. We will not accept this,” he told the charged youths while insisting that Seriki, the head of the Fulani, must leave the town because he has been identified as a security threat.
For daring to disobey state order, Makinde ordered the Police to arrest Sunday Igboho and others causing tension in the state. He maintained that the war Oyo and security agencies need to wage is not against any particular ethnic group but against criminal elements, irrespective of their tribes, religions, or creed.
The governor added that his administration would not allow anyone to threaten the peace of the state by acting unlawfully and saying things that are alien to the Nigerian constitution.
He briefed the new Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, that his administration would continue to synergise with law enforcement organs fight criminals, hoodlums and bandits irrespective of their tribe or religion.
“For people stoking ethnic tension, they are criminals and once you get them, they should be arrested and treated like common criminals.
“I am sure that since you came in, you must have heard about some things happening at Ibarapa axis of the state. I will still say it here that we are not after Hausa-Fulani. We are after criminals”, the governor said.
Igboho, according to Wikipedia, was born as Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, on October 10, 1972 in Igboho, Oke ogun, Oyo State but his father relocated to Modakeke in Osun state where he grew up. He started off as a motorcycle repairer and then ventured into automobiles selling cars and was able to start Adeson business Concept.
Today, he is the chairman of Adeson International Business Concept Ltd and the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba. In addition to his various wars in favour of the Yoruba race, Igboho gained social media tractions in January 2021 when he gave a week ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa to vacate the land after the killing of Dr. Aborode.
He became famous after the part he played in the Modakeke/Ife war between 1997 and 1998, where he was a defendant of Modakeke people. And thereafter relocated to Ibadan where he met former Oyo state Governor, Lam Adesina through a courageous step while trying to defend the rights of the people at a fuel station. He also went on to work with former Governor Rasheed Ladoja and became one of his most trusted aide.
As the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land, he is known for fighting for the right of the Yorubas supposedly possessing metaphysical powers. He is also a staunch advocate of the Oduduwa Republic.
Igboho is a Christian, married to two wives and has children including three professional footballers playing in Germany.
On how he got the nickname ‘Igboho’, the activist said that people in Yoruba Land tend to give other inhabitants the “names” due to the place they live in. His father was called “Baba Igboho” because he comes from Igboho.
As a result, Sunday got the name “Sunday Omo Baba Igboho”. After Sunday’s father moved from Modakeke because of the war, people started calling him Sunday “Igboho”. This name stayed with him even after moving to Ibadan. The name of Sunday Igboho is widely known in the city of Ibadan.
It is still unknown how the fight will turn in the coming days as the Federal government, which many believe has a soft spot for the Fulani may wade into the matter.
Time will tell…