Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, in this interview conducted in the Yoruba language, declares that the Yoruba race can only protect their lives and property by themselves from criminal herdsmen. He also speaks on other sundry issues.
Excerpts: What is the way out of farmers/herdsmen clashes in the South-West? I have said it many times, government alone cannot provide security. The Yoruba people need to first take their security into their hands. They should learn to provide their security in any way they deem fit, without first waiting for the government.
But how did we get to where we find ourselves now? If the government at various levels had taken proactive steps, they would have nipped the crisis in the bud before it snowballed into this. We can’t continue to live in the fear of the unknown in Yorubaland.
Enough is enough. Where was the government when the killer herdsmen were killing innocent people in Yorubaland? How many of the killer herdsmen have they brought to book? I will not wait till foreigners kill my people before I do the right thing. I will continue to fight for the cause of justice till I die.
I can’t be intimidated by anybody; I only fear God Almighty. ALSO READ: Lagos Island boils as NURTW rival groups clash in Obalende (VIDEO) South-West people must rise with one voice to resist killer herdsmen. We are fighting for the course of the Yoruba race, not about sentiment.
Anybody is free to live in any part of the country but must do so with the laid down rules and regulations. We can’t accommodate you in Yorubaland and you begin to kill our people on their property. If the government wants peace, they have to speedily act to avert further crises. The only solution for now, is for the people to take their security into their hands.
Some prominent people from the region are not on the same page with you on this struggle, why? (Smiles). Any Yoruba who is against this noble cause is a bastard. We did not just start this if not for the incessant attacks on our people in the Ibarapa and Oke Ogun areas of Oyo State. Yoruba people are no longer safe in their land.
In the North, they can behead a Yoruba man for slapping a Hausa/Fulani not to talk of destroying their farmlands. You will recall the case of ‘Oko Oloyun’ (a popular herbal medicine practitioner) who was killed during a visit to his country home. He was killed at Igbo Ora.
The Police said they would unravel the facts behind his killing but till now, the matter has not been unraveled. That killing would be a year this month. Another illustrious son, Dr Fatai Aborode, returned from overseas and cultivated farmland in Igangan. He employed about 300 people. When his farm was plundered by cattle, he complained to the Seriki Fulani.
A few days after, killer herdsmen kidnapped him, tied him and butchered him. Nothing was done and no arrest was made. With all these, if any Yoruba is against my agitation, such a person is an enemy to the Yoruba cause.
I only need sincere people to support my cause not agents of disunity. Don’t you think you need the support of traditional rulers and other influential voices in the region for your efforts not to be in vain? (Laughs) The majority of the traditional rulers are supporting me. They secretly invited me to rescue them, but they can’t say it in public when the government refused to do the right thing. They are just suffering in silence.
I was called upon to liberate them. They are all in support of me. I can’t do it without their consent.There is no more fear of civil war regarding the cause that I am fighting. Those who thought that such could happen had the fear because they have hidden agenda.
We are not waging any war against the Fulani people. Our fear is that our leaders are friends of the Fulani, who know the herdsmen, who are criminals in our midst. Our appeal to the Fulani is to bring the killer herders in our midst to book.
We have the right, as Yoruba people, to fight for our freedom. You’ve visited Ibarapa in Oyo State, moved to Ogun. When are you visiting other states in the region especially Ondo where the governor recently gave issued quit notice to herdsmen in government forest reserves? Once they call on me, I am fully ready to heed their call.
I am fighting for the Yoruba cause, not my cause. We must liberate our people. Are you not afraid that government may move against you? They have started that already. I know Yoruba people are behind me. They have frozen my bank accounts because I am fighting for a just cause. I will not relent. I must achieve my aims by putting an end to criminality in Yorubaland.
If they refuse to release my account, there will be a serious protest across the South-West. Our people are living in fear of criminal herdsmen. They are afraid that the herdsmen might attack them. Who are those sponsoring your agitation? We allegedly learned Chief Rashidi Ladoja is backing your campaign to rid Yorubaland of criminal herdsmen. Is this true?
I don’t need such a backing, Baba Ladoja is not sponsoring me and there is nothing like that. Just like what Senator Femi Ojudu said about me. I have told journalists that he is a mere stooge and a slave to his conscience.
What is your advice to South-West governors, traditional rulers and opinion moulders in the region? We can work in harmony with the South-West governors since they recognise the fact that we have the fundamental right to secure our people and to protect their rights. The problem is that those in between us and the government are the ones creating undue tension.
We are sure that if the South-West governors can feel the pulse of the people who are feeling the heat from the killer herdsmen, we believe that they would rise to the occasion and do the needful.
Our traditional rulers are the custodians of our culture and heritage in Yorubaland. As the situation of things is now, I thank our royal fathers for their efforts. I thank all the Yoruba Obas starting from the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona; I thank our father, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and also thanks to our father, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
I must pay obeisance to the Awujale for his fearless and dogged spirit and courage. They all want peace in Yorubaland. Do you have any political ambition? (Laughs) Is there anything more honourable than what I am doing for the Yoruba cause? I am not going into politics and I am not doing this to seek any form of popularity.
It’s a natural cause. I am not afraid of anything or anyone but God. God is the owner and controller of every soul. No human being can kill me, it’s only God who can kill me. What is your admonition to the Yoruba race on this struggle? We Yoruba people should be united and stop playing politics with the lives of our people.
We deserve to be united, so I preach unity of purpose among the Yoruba people. We should always speak with one voice. Yoruba people should be protected from killer herdsmen. That’s my message, nothing more. The struggle continues. You were alleged to have said you could fight Boko Haram without government support… (Cuts in) It is a total fabrication and sensation which the journalist who orchestrated it failed to substantiate beyond a reasonable doubt. I never, at any point in time said that. The report is fake news.