February 26, 2021

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Makinde, Igboho cross swords

4 min read

By Paul Ade-Adeleye

 

On Friday, Yoruba Gestapo commander, Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Sunday Igboho, was at Ibarapa in Oyo State with a huge crowd of followers in defiance of the state governor, and spoke many assuring words to the people. His aim had been to totally banish Hausa/Fulani herdsmen from the state and he had delivered an ultimatum to that effect last week. The herdsmen, fearing for their lives and interests, heeded the ultimatum and fled the state, a status quo which indigenes celebrated. The people gave him a thousand kisses and pats on his back and he returned their confidence by promising to replicate the same in other states in the Southwest, and visit the fear of the Yoruba people on herdsmen who had a penchant for banditry. The people were rapturous; they had found their personal Robin Hood, but Governor Seyi Makinde was boiling.

Although Igboho claimed his actions were for a good cause, they were illegal. In law, the end does not justify the means; the means justify the end. Yet, the means, despite the controversy surrounding them, were not completely illegal, as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has shown to the chagrin of certain forces operating in the presidency. The ideology of it was sound and for the most part legal, but it was procedurally illegal, as Igboho was not a state actor duly elected by the people to represent their interests nor was he appointed by the government to execute its policies. It was due to what many within the state had described as the government’s sloppiness that he was unduly appointed to act decisively by those among the people who had suffered directly from the wave of insecurity. His method was madness, but it was a populist sort of madness which many loved in the state. Governor Makinde should have been the one to take any decisive stance on quelling the upsurge of banditry in the state, in which capacity he would have done it more methodically and less madly provided he has the ideological depth to manoeuvre such a delicately nuanced ethnic maze. He would have probably also entered all the herdsmen grazing in the state into a database, like his Ondo counterpart is posturing to do, and put together a strategy for monitoring them. He, in a word, should have done something. He failed to inspire confidence in the people, which was where Igboho excelled, and which is why he was summoned by villagers to help them.

Proherbarium

In truth, despite the illegality of Igboho’s actions, he has been able to accomplish more than the state governor has, but at what cost? The fear is that he has not been circumspect about the steps he took. How will the north receive the news that their kinsmen — rank and file, guilty and innocent — have been summarily expelled from the southwest? They have a history of vindictiveness which has resulted in the constant enmity between both the north and the southeast. The hope is that they will be more circumspect than to retaliate openly. What if the bandits among the herdsmen have not retreated fully but have only gone up for air planning to return armed to the teeth while the people are at ease with lowered guards? The bandits are not known to obey the en garde principle which requires swordsmen to pre-inform their opponents of their intention to attack.

The governor’s faceoff with the freedom fighter has all the makings of a good-cop-bad-cop scene. While the governor, who is the embodiment of the people’s power by law is publicly preaching peace and sanity, Igbhoho, is getting his hands dirty and embodying the people’s might outside the law. He operates outside the thin blue line. More, the faceoff is needless and petty, and should have been nipped in the bud rather than protracted to its current impasse. Igboho’s pointed comments allude to a pre-existing relationship with the governor. No one knows the full details of this relationship, but trusting the strength of that relationship, the freedom fighter has repeatedly dared the governor to act against him. Of course, both parties have been making veiled comments; hardly mentioning names but supplying enough information for even the blind to identify and correctly guess the subjects of their messages. The governor should have called Igboho into a meeting long ago and diplomatically solved the faceoff. The former has the law on his side while the latter has the people on his side. Both elements of the state should work together against the common enemy, insecurity. In Oyo, they are working against each other.