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MAN IN THE NEWS: Sunday Igboho, the Nnamdi Kanu of south-west?

Author:
Jemilat Nasiru

It all started with anger, one birthed by the weight of the responsibility he felt to keep his people safe. The attacks and killings happened non-stop and when Igboho could no longer take it, he took the law into his own hands! In a short time, Igboho became the self-acclaimed defender of the afflicted Yoruba people — as well as the centre of national and international attention.

Call him the Nnamdi Kanu of the south-west — what the IPOB leader claims to be to the Igbo of the south-east it appears Igboho is, or wants to be, to the Yoruba of the south-west. Both men, who are self-acclaimed messiahs of the people they want to redeem, have hinged their rebellion on allegations of injustice and marginalisation — and are both seeking the secession of their people from the Nigerian nation.

On Thursday, suspected gunmen attacked Igboho’s house at the Soka area of Ibadan, destroying cars and other valuables in the process. The attack, which came two days to a “Yoruba nation rally” Igboho slated for Lagos, has put him in the spotlight. But this is not the first time Igboho will be making news headlines.

THE EVICTION NOTICE TO FULANI HERDERS

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Igboho, whose real name is Sunday Adeyemo, came into prominence when he stormed Ibarapa local government of Oyo state in January and asked Fulani herdsmen to vacate the area, blaming them for the killing and kidnapping of Yoruba indigenes. His eviction notice sparked off a number of events that will eventually lead to an order by the inspector-general of police for his arrest.
Igboho turned a deaf ear to calls from both state and non-state actors, including Seyi Makinde, the state governor, asking him to stand down. In a bid to effect the notice, some youths in the area took the law into their own hands and wreaked havoc on the Fulani residents of the area. The home and property of Saliu Abdulkadir, Sarkin Fulani of Oyo state, were set ablaze and lives were lost in the mayhem that ensued.

AGITATION FOR YORUBA NATION

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In a viral video that surfaced in March, Igboho declared that the Yoruba are no longer part of Nigeria. 

Igboho also asked the Yoruba in the north to return home and end their ”suffering”, adding that all the borders — which were closed by the federal government at that time — will be opened.

“We no longer have peace in our home. We have a good country but our leaders are bad. We don’t want them again,” he had said.

“After this discussion, we will hold meeting and open our borders so that rice, food and other things can enter easily. Enough is enough. All our borders that Nigerian government closed, we are telling them we are no longer under them, we will go and open the borders.

“We are ready for everything they want to do to us. I am speaking on behalf of Yoruba people.”

In May, when he joined his supporters in Osogbo, Osun state capital, for a pro-Yoruba nation rally, Igboho said he had the support of the governors of the south-west region for the creation of a Yoruba nation.

Yoruba elders and some governors have, however, disowned Igboho’s secession bid, saying they have invested so much in the country to watch it disintegrate.

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He also took his campaign to Ogun state in February where he said he will visit all of Yorubaland to flush out killer herdsmen and ensure there is peace.

ATTACKS ON HIS HOUSES

Thursday’s attack on Igboho’s house is not the first. One of his houses in the area was allegedly set on fire by gunmen who invaded the residence on January 26, 2021. Igboho said at the time those who set the house on fire were loyalists of Fulani herders.

On April 26, 2021, his second house, also located in Soka area, was also attacked.

Adesina Akinpelu, one of Igboho’s aides, told TheCable in February that operatives of different security agencies intercepted the convoy in which Igboho was travelling along Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Akinpelu said the security operatives claimed they wanted to arrest a “criminal”, but did not mention Igboho’s name.

The DSS, nonetheless, denied the report that its men attempted to arrest him.

‘MYSTICAL IGBOHO’

Charms recovered from Igboho’s residence in Oyo

Igboho is alleged to possess mystical powers which shield him from harm. He is also reported to take the forms of animals when in imminent danger. This claim is unsubstantiated.

A friend of Igboho who grew up with him in the Modakeke area of Oke Ogun told TheCable in an interview that said it is true that he (Igboho) possesses metaphysical powers, adding that Igboho’s grandfather might have transferred it to his grandson.

“The metaphysical power he has is beyond imagination… his grandfather was known to possess some powers. Everyone who lived in the town before his death would know of the power of Sunday’s grandfather,” he said.

Igboho also said in February though his family is concerned about his safety, no one can kill him. 

“I am not afraid of anything or anyone but God. God is the owner and controller of every soul. It is only God who can kill me. No human being can kill me, so I cannot be afraid of any mortal,” he said.

In ‘Sunday Igboho’, a three-part Yoruba movie released in 2017 chronicling the life of the youth leader, Igboho is depicted as a warrior who possesses metaphysical powers.

“Right from the womb, Sunday proves powerful by changing his sex to a male from the female predestined by the Osun Priestess. His father wanted him to be educated but Sunday chooses the path of a warrior,” its synopsis said.

NOW WANTED BY THE DSS

The Department of State Services (DSS) has declared Igboho wanted after he escaped arrest when the secret police raided his residence.

According to Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesman, the security agency recovered illegal arms — including seven AK-47 rifles — and thousands of ammunition from Igboho’s house during the raid.

The development comes days after Nnamdi Kanu was caught, extradited and remanded in the custody of the DSS.

While Kanu’s run from the DSS may be over, Igboho’s may have just begun!

 

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