…This is the era of a Sunday Igboho. Powerful but humble. respectful and highly respected. There may be several Sunday Igboho’s latently underneath across Yorubaland
I attended an Islamic Pre-School and Primary School, this made the subject of the second coming of Jesus Christ a bit strange to me when the young female teacher introduced it in my Form Two. I was nonplussed. It was not part of what the Mallam had taught me in the Arabic class. Second coming!? When was the first coming!? I had asked rhetorically. Surprised too. The teacher took me to the Staff Room. There, the re-orientation began, and till today still not ending.
Therefore, when I read the story of Bishop Wale Oke anger in an online paper, the first encounter with the Bible Knowledge teacher came rushing back. The Bishop was palpably angry, and perhaps, justifiably so, going by the tale of the sexual harassments one of his ‘daughters’ had fed him with. The Bishop had angrily implored the ‘God that answereth by fire’ to ‘judge this matter’. And pronto, the randy Casanova lecturer was killed in a ghastly motor accident ‘with another lady he has been sleeping with.’
Reading the story from a media platform might have deprived the reader some theatrics; it might have hidden some real drama about the testimony. The Bishop must have gyrated, like a spirit-filled masquerade about to enter the market square, must have gesticulated, and even must have done a bit of ‘shaku shaku’ dance steps. He really needed these to enter the groove. But these basis ingredients are missing from the online reports. But let me cast my mind back to some decades ago. Three decades or so now. This same Bishop was not rumoured, but reported to have had an affair with a worker in his church. The unfortunate lady was reported to carry the wild oats the Bishop sowed in her womb then. Before this, sexual harassment must have taken place. Yet no one called on God to ‘judge this matter’ then. The Bishop was allowed the grace of a second coming. He lived it since then, quietly, thinking that we all must have forgotten the tender-sheets escapades.
The poor lecturer is now long melted up in his six feet shallow grave now. His neck probably off his body. He had no opportunity to reply the accuser and her father in the Lord. Yet the lady was guilty of paucity of information about her academic performance before the lecturer offered to help, but with a caveat.
We are not to be angry. Yes, the Holy Bible enjoins us not to. Not this unusual season. The Bishop is angry, maybe holy anger. Sunday Adeyemo is angry. The Fulani herdsmen are angry. We are all angry, perhaps. Already Bishop Oke’s holy angry has sent the skirt chasing lecturer to Hell. No chance of ‘second coming’ for the randy lecturer.
This perhaps is the season of anger. The Bishop is angry. Sunday Igboho is angry. So also are the Fulani herdsmen. The people of Yorubaland too, are apparently fed up with the continued criminalities often associated with the herdsmen’s activities. The flakes from Ibarapa land, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, is not comfortable, at all. After several decades of taking abode in the expansive forests of Oke Ogun, and most forest reserves of the Yorubaland, the Fulani herdsmen started growing wings. Records affirm that the early herders came in since the 18th century. They have sired many offspring who do nothing but tend to their flocks, they deal only with cows, goats and sheep. Some are now urbanized. And now income from the beef market hardly can satisfy their acquired taste. Then sundry criminalities set in. Big money started coming from kidnapping and robberies. Resistance leading to rape and killings. Fulanis quite naturally, wherever they choose as a place of abode, they always have a leader. They addressed him Seriki. They revered him more than the traditional ruler of the place. In Ibarapa land, like other lands across the Southern hemisphere, they have various Serikis. The one in Igangan however, saw nothing wrong in the criminal activities of his wards. Sad. Several hues and cries by the locals meant nothing to him. He only reinforced his personal security. At the height of the communal crises, he even propounded a funny theory that will throw many historians into the Lagoon. He had queried where the Oke Ogun people came with the land they now called theirs. ‘No one came to this world with an inch of land anywhere’, he had argued. Not few were enraged by the brazen bravado of the herders’ head. But the people have weaklings in positions of authorities. Governors look askance in awe of these Serikis. They are believed to be highly connected with the Federal powers. And more, secondary considerations and permutations would not allow them to act. Yet Dr. Aborode was machete to death right in the courtyard of a Seriki. Several others have met their death overstepping their bounds with Serikis or his protégé. The Serikis, anywhere they are have simply become ungovernable. But the real gist lies behind the legality of their stay in the place. Who sold the land to the Fulani Herdsmen? Someone did sell the land these herdsmen now occupy to them at a point in the past. They had collected his filthy lucre; now the offspring bear the brunt.
The Seriki Fulani in Igangan is not working in isolation. He is indeed a critical part of a chain of a network that has spread all over the South West. The entire region is under the occupation of these expansionist marauders who come in the name of herdsmen. In Ijesa land, they are all over. In Ekitiland, all the forest reserves are occupied by them. So also in Ondo State. My fears now is when they decide to change tactics in the metropolitan Lagos, curtailing them may cause an explosion. For now, it is still limited to acquisition of real properties in Agege, Ilasamaja, Alaba Rago, Ikorodu, and some other areas. The second coming may not be with hand shakings. It may be with pains, pangs and blood.
Truthfully, no Yoruba man carried an inch of land from Heaven. Neither do an Igbo man or a Hausa man, or even these itinerant Fulani occupation. But we all know that certain land are appropriated to some people naturally by nature and design. That is why the Northern hemisphere of the country has some odd 70 per cent of the total land mass while the Southern flank is cramped on the remaining 30 per cent and with water further depreciating the mass by another 10 per cent. A state in the North, Niger, is bigger than the entire South East, while the notoriously dreaded Sambisia forest is bigger than both Lagos and Ogun States combined. Yet the Fulani herdsmen see no good in concentrating their herds in these empty land, but to come and struggle for the fast evaporating space in the South. Let the demographers and the town planners know that the Oyo State of 28,454km2 of 1960 is not the same as today. The population figures of the State have tripled and so the land mass has shrink. More people are now on each km2 than in 1960.
There is clearly a political undertone in the activities of these Fulanis. Refusing to stay by the banks of Rivers Benue, Niger, Kaduna, Hadeija and others in the North gives more credence to the proponents of the theory of expansionist agenda by the Fulani. To prove this wrong, the Northern Consultative Forum should heed the advice of Alhaji Ibrahim Ganduje, a former Governor of Kano State, to order all herdsmen with their flocks back to the North. Let them restrict their grazing to the banks of Rivers Niger and Benue.
Unusual situation breeds unusual leaders. The prayers of a Bishop Wale Oke may not change the unfolding scenario. Not even the undecipherable interference of a Pastor Tunder Bakare is of need now. Pastor Bakare has regaled us with the tales of his call to Igboho. This man Igboho is not invoking Holy Spirit in his war with the Fulanis. He is not sprinkling Holy water nor anointing oil, or a ‘Babalola’s life water’. He neither carries the Holy Bible or the Quran, but pure African traditional invocation of gods and spirits. I do not see any nexus between a Pastor, an Imam and this fella. But incongruously, a Pastor Bakare was telling us of his prayers for Sunday’s ailing father.
O yeah, to deal with the unusual situation, a leader must emerge. Historians will remember how Oluyole emerged in the history of Ibadan. The line in Ibadan cognomen. Ija igboro l’oro Ibadan. Fortunately, a battle toughened political enforcer, Sunday Adeyemi, if to evoke further fear, let us call him Sunday Igboho, is from that axis of Yorubaland. While the regular security operatives seem incapable of reining in the dreaded herdsmen, moved in. He sacked the harem of the egoistic Seriki. Igboho’s profile quickly rose. He immediately moved to the neighboring Ogun State. Those who know him said he a guerrilla war veteran. He was said to have fought at the forefront during the Ife-Modakeke’s war. Blood and pains are not strange to him. Even veteran journalist, Babafemi Ojudu, also a former Senator who once hired him for electoral purposes during a governorship election in Ekiti State came out fidgeting. He tried to reduce his influence. Claiming he was facilitated Igboho’s crispy naira notes handshake with his political leader. As it were, Igboho may extends his tentacles to Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo soon. All these while the garrulously installed Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland tucked his tail behind his hind legs. His snow-white babanriga would hardly allow him move freely. Wealth acquisition is now the focus. No more war voyages to satisfy the imperialistic ego of an Alaafin. That is gone bye.
This is era of a Sunday Igboho. There may be several Sunday Igbohos latently underneath across Yorubaland. Let us pray the situation do not degenerates more than it is presently. But, this Igboho is pushing. Neither the Imperial majesty Ooni nor the Alaafin could call him. But, if he rules the mainland Yoruba states, surely another of his stock, M. C. Oluomo, will lay claim to the metropolitan Lagos. An Aare Ona Kakanfo may not wish to remain uncertain in the background for too long. This clearly portends danger. It could be dangerous in the long run. Yet no one is pondering on this probable future clash of ego. Sadly, the political leaders are busy with their shenanigans strategizing towards a nebulous 2023 project. They care a little for the incessant shedding of blood and the pains the people go through.
Sunday Igboho may be crude. May be brash. May be uncultured. May be illegality. But our land is bleeding of innocent blood and violations. Ibarapaland is not alone in this. Pains, tears and blood can be seen all over the region. All having the hallmark of these violent Fulani herdsmen. Dr. Aborode gory end only depicts the heart rendering gory tales all over the place. In Akure, Ondo State a young lady was raped and her eyes plucked by a Fulani herdsmen. A gory story like that once trended in Ilesa, Osun State. A young lady was said to have gone to hawk food to the Fulani herdsmen only to be raped and murdered. Funnily, a Prophet is not near to ‘angrily’ called unto the Almighty God on behalf of these poor victims. This is the time to cry to Him to ‘judge this matter’. Perhaps none of their ‘sons’ or ‘daughters’ have tearfully come to report the savagery of these Fulani herdsmen to them. The Bishop Wale Oke’s fiasco is more of a vain glorious testimonial celebration. This is common in our clime. What we hear daily are illogicality’s and vain affirmations. Bishop Wale Oke may wish the randy lecturer dead, as many Yoruba would wish for the total extermination of the herdsmen in their land. But let us be clear no God would answered such a prayer.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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