From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
In the past one month, the agitation for self-determination for Yoruba nation, from all indications, seemed to have lost its steam, as little or nothing has been heard about the struggle.
A lot has happened within the past one month, during which the prominent Yoruba nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, was arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic, when he attempted to travel to Germany, having escaped from Nigeria. Igboho’s residence was raided in the early hours of July 1, this year by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in collaboration with other security agencies. Two persons were killed in Igboho’s house during the operation, while 12 persons were arrested in his house on that day and were taken to Abuja. Since then, DSS took them to court for the first time this week and they have been granted bail with conditions.
It is also on record that the last Yoruba nation rally that was held at Ojota in Lagos on July 3, this year, was another case that probably weakened the agitation for self-determination for the Yoruba Nation. Dozens among the participants in the rally were arrested, taken to court and granted bail. Some of them were sprayed with hot water by the police and a young girl, Jumoke, was also hit by a stray bullet in front of a shop in Ojota. She died immediately.
Investigation revealed that the Lagos rally by the agitators was a total departure from what they experienced, even with security agencies when similar rallies were earlier held in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States, with active or passive participation of Igboho. There was an insinuation that a number of Yoruba nation agitators might have slowed down on the struggle as a result of an alleged clampdown on them by the Federal Government. The force with which the government went after Igboho, as gathered, sent shivers down the spines of many agitators and they have gone back to the drawing board on how to outwit the government.
It was further argued that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is achieving its aim of weakening the agitators.
Opinion polls conducted revealed that the fact that more than 100 groups under the umbrella of Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), agitating for self-determination Yoruba nation, have not been holding activities like they used to do it before the total clampdown.
Before the clampdown, there was a fierce and consistent social media agitation for the Yoruba Nation. Apart from that, the agitators, under the leadership of an Emeritus Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, held many rallies and created a lot for awareness for the agitation.
Communications Manager to Prof Akintoye, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, was confronted with the arguments. On that allegation that their activities had gone down, he stated: “No, the agitation has not gone down. In fact, it is becoming more popular. Maybe what you meant by saying going down is because of some special rallies that we held in the past. But agitation is not all about rallies.
“But you have to watch the body language of the state actors and strategize and re-strategize. You would remember the rally we held at Ojota in Lagos on Saturday July 3 and how the police clamped down on us. This has made us to review our strategies. So, we have changed strategies and nothing has gone down. We are working underground. We have not been holding rallies, but we have been doing house-to-house mobilisation.”
Adeleye stated further that the struggle would not die because Igboho was arrested and because some of the agitators had been purportedly harassed, intimidated and molested by security agencies.
His words: “Have you seen a struggle that died because of the arrest or death of its leader? If you consider Boko Haram insurgency, when the government killed Yusuf Mohammed, what happened? When the leader of Ogoni people, Ken Saro-Wiwa was killed during the era of the late Gen Sani Abacha, what happened in Niger Delta thereafter? So, the arrest of Igboho has emboldened many Yoruba to continue with the agitation. Then, the harassment of agitators has rather continued to popularise the agitation.
“We thank the Federal Government for doing the popularisation for us. We want to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for publicising the Yoruba Nation rallies for us. They thought they are harassing us, but the government is helping us to create more awareness for the Yoruba nation agitation.”
Adeleye further stated that plans were on-going for Igboho’s associates that were arrested and taken to court by DSS in Abuja to perfect their bail conditions before the end of this month. He added, however, that Igboho is in safe hands in Cotonou, even as he refused to comment on the strategies being put in place to rescue him. He said: “We will not discuss our plans and strategies in the media. But we will be glad to discuss our success stories.”