Sunday Igboho: Rights Actvist or War Monger?
Suddenly, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as, Sunday Igboho who was arguably known only to his immediate family, friends and associates has shot to national spotlight on account of the recent quit notice which he issued to Fulani herders in Ibarapa area of Oyo State,, writes Kemi Olaitan
Before Thursday, January 13, 2021, little was known about Yoruba actvist, Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo (popularly called Sunday Igboho) even though he has been around for quite some time. Born on October 10, 1972 in Igboho, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, his hometown after which he is nicknamed, he rose to limelight following his role in the Modakeke-Ife communal crisis in 1997, while defending the Modakeke people.
Much of the information concerning him may be dismisses by analytical minds as myth and fairy tale. Whenever and wherever the name ‘Sunday Igboho’ is mentioned, the impression what readily comes to mind is his perceived metaphysical ability to command a gun from the air, an action many claim to have witnessed in the past. He is dismissed by the discerning as a “thug’, who may be condoned for his nuisance value. Igboho, however, has an elevated opinion of himself. He does not see himself as a troublemaker, but rather a human rights activist who is ready at any time to fight for his people and against injustice.
Speaking on this, he once said, “People just shout Sunday Igboho, Sunday Igboho — Who can say he saw me in a public fight? Who can say he has seen me cheat or oppress people? If you hit my car, I tell you to go because if I did anything untoward, people would say I was oppressing such a person because of my personality.”
It was in fighting injustce that he did the unusual on January 14 when he stormed Igangan in Ibarapa area of Oyo State, where insecurity had become the order of the day. He went to the Fulani colony in the community where he accused the Seriki Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir of conniving with Fulani herders to commit atrocities in the area. Adeyemo subsequently issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Seriki and those he described as criminal herders to quit not only the community but the entrire Ibarapaland.
For Adeyemo, the increasing spate of killings and kidnappings of the residents of Oke Ogun and Ibarapa is the handiwork of herders. To checkmate these criminal activities, it became necessary to issue a strong warning in the form of a seven-day ultimatum.
Adeyemo in a video that went viral on social media told the Seriki, “Alhaji, I am here to tell you that we are not pleased with the way your people are killing our people. I cannot continue to fold my arms when your people are killing my people. We hereby give you seven days to leave this place.
“What you have done in Yoruba land is enough, go back to your North. If you claim stubbornness and stay, you will have yourself to blame. I respect you by coming here to notify you but if you don’t respect yourself and decide to stay, you will see.”
This action of his suddenly led to his fame soaring as he immediately hit the national and the world scene. While his action received accolades from many quarters in Yorubaland and the Diaspora turning him into a hero of the race, Governor Seyi Makinde kicked against the ultimatum issued to the Fulani herders. He accused Adeyemo of stoking the embers of ethnic crisis.
Makinde in a statewide broadcast said, ” The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear. We are determined to preserve that right in Oyo state.”
But despite the warning by the governor, Adeyemo returned back to Igangan last Friday with a mammoth crowd welcoming him to the Town Hall in the community where he addressed them. The visit led to clash between some Yoruba youths and Fulanis in the community with the house of the Seriki burnt and lives allegedly lost.
The Convener of Igangan Development Advocates (IDA), Mr Oladiran Oladokun, in throwing his weight behind him, said the people needed somebody who would remove the burden of their oppressors from their necks and Adeyemo offered to do that with what he did. He said, “For years, farm plundering was their full-time business, growing audaciously in bounds even as Seriki Saliu ensured no Fulani was prosecuted for offences they were caught committing.
“With no disciplinary measures ever meted to the feared Fulani herdsmen, their audacity has grown from just grazing upon the sweat of Ibarapa farmers to maiming and lynching any farmer who dares to raise a voice. Igangan and Ibarapaland are a peaceful place where the Fulani culture of undue exploitation under the draconian reign of their kingpins became cancerous. No one was spared that was why everyone was there when Sunday Igboho responded to our cry.”
Foray in Oyo politics
Adeyemo was involved in the dirty politics between the late political leader, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, and former Oyo State governor, Senator Rasheed Ladoja whom he supported and acted as his bodyguard throughout the tussle and also led his camp in the violence that occurred then. Ladoja was illegally impeached as Oyo governor in 2006 due to a political disagreement he had with the late Adedibu but was later reinstated after 11 months through a court order.
Explaining his role during the period, he said, “By nature, I’m a gentleman, but I hate cheating and injustice. I have my supporters who are loyal to me and who also believe in me, just as I believe in Ladoja and I was also loyal to him. Me and my supporters, who some people like to describe as Sunday Igboho boys, decided to fight the injustice against Ladoja.
“By nature, I’m not violent, but when the other party is not only being violent, but also being openly supported by ex-President Obasanjo, to the extent of even using police against Ladoja and his political interests, we had no choice than to fight back. When we decided to fight back, people now said Sunday Igboho and his boys were violent. When you give me a dirty slap, do you expect me to turn the other cheek to you or to run away? God forbid, I always fight for my right and I’m fearless and bold.”
Adeyemo has also at different times been accused of land grabbing, using armed thugs against original owners of the land. But he has also defended himself with the arguments that he only fights on land matters when he is invited to do so as part of his job entails helping people reclaim their grabbed land and ensure that it goes back to the rightful owner. This profile fits his assumed title, “Akoni Oodua”, which means Warrior of Yorubaland.
He said, “Those who follow me are like my younger brothers and none of them can do anything unlawful. But the problem is most thugs and misguided youths cause trouble in my name. They do bad things and claim to be Sunday Igboho boys. I have never seen these people before; whenever they are arrested by the police and they are asked whether they can identify me, they then confess that they have never seen me before. I am a lawful person. Even when someone reports land-grabbers, I will tell people to go and call them and I will warn them to release the lands to their rightful owners.”
Quick Facts About Adeyemo,
*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. He is therefore a war monger.
*He is a politician and business man. He is the chairman of Adeson International Business Concept Ltd and the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba. He played a part in the emergence of Makinde as governor of Oyo State.
*He relocated to Ibadan after the Ife/Modakeke war 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 worked with former Governor, Rasheed Ladoja and became one of his most trusted aides.
*As the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land, he is known for fighting for the right of the Yorubas where he possesses metaphysical powers and advocating for the Oduduwa Republic.
*Adeyemo is a Christian, married to two wives and has children, including three professional footballers playing in Germany.
*He started life as a mechanic and motorcycle repairer.
It was in fighting injustce that he did the unusual on January 14 when he stormed Igangan in Ibarapa area of Oyo State, where insecurity had become the order of the day. He went to the Fulani colony in the community where he accused the Seriki Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir of conniving with Fulani herders to commit atrocities in the area. Adeyemo subsequently issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Seriki and those he described as criminal herders to quit not only the community but the entrire Ibarapaland. For Adeyemo, the increasing spate of killings and kidnappings of the residents of Oke Ogun and Ibarapa is the handiwork of herders