By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan and Alao Abiodun
The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has sent a delegation to Cotonou, the capital of Benin Republic, to observe the court proceedings involving Chief Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho).
The monarch’s decision coincides with his supporters’ resolve to attend the court session in large numbers. They held a virtual session monitored by The Nation yesterday to fine-tune their plans.
Oba Adetunji spoke on Sunday at his Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace while exchanging views with Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) President General Prince Yemisi Adeaga; first vice President General Dr. Tirimisiyu Oladimeji; the Ekefa Olubadan, Chief Lekan Alabi; Ajia Olubadan, Chief Wasiu Aderoju Alaadorin; Mogaji Makusota and Prof. Oluwasegun Adekunle.
The monarch, who did not disclose the identity of the delegation, said the team would be in court unfailingly today.
A statement by his Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Adeola Oloko, quoted the Olubadan as saying that the decision became necessary to show he was not folding his arms over Igboho’s travails.
“Sunday Igboho lives in Ibadan, got married in Ibadan, rear children in Ibadan, built houses in Ibadan and as such, he has the rights to be protected by Ibadan traditional institution within the ambit of the law just like any human being in Ibadan,” the statement said.
Oba Adetunji, who stated that he was in constant touch with prominent royal fathers, allayed public fears of a repeat performance of the Yoruba-Fulani collision of 1814. The monarch urged the people to remain calm and law-abiding, stressing that truth will prevail.
Igboho’s supporters in the diaspora are also planning to protest at various embassies.
Ibrahim Salami, a Beninese Yoruba and law lecturer, during an interview monitored by The Nation, explained that Igboho has two more stages to undergo before his freedom would be decided.
Salami said: “In Benin here, there are three stages (judicial protocol) of trial. The first is with the prosecutor, the second one is with the investigating judge and the third will determine whether he is guilty and should be sentenced or not.
“The next phase is on Monday. The first phase with the prosecutor has been concluded. When we get to court on Monday, we will be facing the investigation judge, and after that, we will face the judge that will determine whether he should be sentenced or not.
“Before the end of Monday, we will know if the Benin Republic government wants to jail or release him. That will be clear on Monday.”