Saturday, January 23, 2021 11:56 am
By Richard Akinnola
I have just been able to distill a couple of materials, videos and write-ups on the recent activities of Yoruba activist called Sunday Igboho. Quite frankly, l must admit, l have not been following his activities, until late last night when l saw a video where he was addressing the people of Ibarapa, in Oyo state over his claims that Fulani herdsmen killed some Yoruba people and that he had given the fulanis quit notice from the community. The quit notice, expired yesterday.
From all l could distill, this boils down to the failure of the government or even, the government being complicit through its “body language“ in dealing with the menace of these herdsmen. Perception is most times, stronger than reality. The perception of a number of ethnic groups is that the government treats the herdsmen with kid gloves. This must have actuated Igboho’s angst, particularly against his claims of wanton killings of his natives by these people.
However, having said that, and with the benefit of hindsight, l don’t support his quit notice to the Seriki Fulani and his household, who have lived in that community for 45 years. I also decry the arson and destruction of their property by the Igboho people in attempt to enforce the quit notice, not being a government.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state must also share in this blame. You don’t go on air to issue threats to Igboho when you ought to have called him and the Seriki into a meeting, for both sides to ventilate their grievances.
Ethnic skirmishes, particularly in our clime, can spiral out of control with collateral damages in other parts of the country. Reason l blame the presidency in all these. The body language in Abuja is that it supports the Fulanis against other ethnic groups on this herdsmen matter and that has fueled so much anger. It’s response, through Garba Shehu on the Ondo forest issue, is a clear example.
As l had stated few days ago, we have been living peacefully together for ages and this tension wasn’t there. So, what has changed? These are issues we have to deal with.
Without prejudice to this, l still think Igboho needs to be reined in by Yoruba leaders. He may be well-intentioned but his tactic of giving quit notice (being a non-state actor) and destruction of the Fulani property, are wrong, brash, abrasive and counter-productive. I hope reason prevails.
-Richard Akinnola, journalist, lawyer, human rights activist, writes from Lagos