Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has been in the news lately following his agitation for a Yoruba nation and subsequent clash with the Fulani community in Oyo State.
He recently gave a seven-day ultimatum to Fulani herders in the Ibarapa axis of Oyo State to leave the area in the wake of the heightened insecurity in the state, as well as the South-west, as a result of the activities of kidnappers and bandits.
Mr Igboho alleged that herders have been responsible for the killings and kidnappings of the residents of Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa. His ultimatum came at a period when Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, also issued a similar ultimatum to herders in Ondo forests.
Unlike Mr Akeredolu, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State maintained that Fulanis are not responsible for the insecurity.
He also warned against ousting the herders citing the provisions of the Constitution that allows residents of Nigeria to live in any place of their choice.
Despite the warning, Mr Igboho invaded Igangan on Friday. The invasion led to the clash between some Yoruba youth and Fulani in the community.
Who is Sunday Igboho?
Mr Igboho is an acclaimed Yoruba activist but some persons describe him as a notorious ‘political thug’ in Ibadan. He was born on October 10 in 1972, at Igboho town, located in Oke-Ogun, Oyo State.
Nicknamed after his hometown, Mr Igboho later rose to fame following his role in the Modakeke-Ife communal crisis in 1997, where he played an active part.
Many believe Mr Igboho has metaphysical abilities which make him a formidable opponent in battle.
But Mr Igboho says he does not see himself as a troublemaker, ”but a human rights activist”.
“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,” he once said in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune.
Many folks in Oyo and Osun states fear Mr Igboho and his boys and see such fears as the beginning of wisdom.
He is usually seen on the street with a live snake coiled around his neck, many persons claim.
Involvement in Oyo politics
Mr Igboho was involved in the combative politics between the late political leader, Lamidi Adedibu, and former Oyo State governor, Rashidi Ladoja. He supported Mr Ladoja and acted as his bodyguard throughout the tussle.
He also led the camp of Mr Ladoja in the violence that occurred then. Mr Ladoja was illegally impeached as Oyo governor in 2006 due to a political disagreement he had with the late Mr Adedibu but was later reinstated after 11 months through a court order.
Explaining his role in the violence to The Sun Newspaper, Mr Igboho said he supported Mr Ladoja because ”he never subscribed to the cheating of fellow human by those who considered themselves as superiors”.
‘It is true I was a key witness and also a key player in the political developments of that period. I was an insider. Former governor, Rashidi Ladoja, was my leader, my political boss. I rose and fought on his behalf when late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wanted to carry out their illegal impeachment of Ladoja.
“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’s 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 the 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?”
Land grabbing allegations
Many have also accused Mr Igboho of land grabbing, using armed thugs against original owners of such lands.
He also defended himself against these allegations. He claims he only fights on land matters ”when he is invited to do so”. Mr Igboho said ”part of his job” entails helping people reclaim their land snatched illegally.
He also says he is the ‘Akoni Oodua’, a title that means ‘Warrior of Yorubaland’.
“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’s boys.
“I have never seen these people before; whenever they were arrested by the police and they are asked whether they could identify me, they then confess that they had 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,” he was once quoted in an interview with the Tribune.
Metaphysical powers, sorcery?
Asked how he got the ‘metaphysical power’ people claim he has, he responded: “It is a divine secret from God; I inherited the powers from my fathers.”
For several months now, Mr Igboho has been agitating for the Yoruba nation. The recent friction between the Yoruba and Fulani in Oyo State has, again, brought him to fame.