Running away to fight another day seems suicidal now. With Kanu and Igboho in the cage, more spunk needed for the next breakaway revolution. Anyone?
By Elijah Olusegun
After his barnstorm across the southwest, and threats to disrupt the 2023 election in the region—“even if he has to die actualizing the Yoruba nation”—Sunday Adeyemo walked into the federal government waiting arms in Benin Republic Monday—thanks to series of missteps the 48-year old jingoist took during his flight from the DSS.
His critics as well as well-wishers believe he’s one of many things: a propagandist, a coward, a novice, or a loudmouth.
Otunba Gani Adams, the aare ona kakanfo of Yoruba, recently revealed how he warned Adeyemo, aka Igboho, against using cheap propaganda to fight the Yoruba cause.
“You said you wanted to go and open border. That will be the beginning of war. You don’t need to say that. It will be counterproductive. You don’t have war materials,” Adams said shortly after Igboho was declared wanted.
Besides that, Igboho has said things he only meant to boost his street cred. On many occasions he or his media aide Olayomi Koiki abused Ooni of Ife, Awujale of Ijebu, and other prominent Yoruba elders like RCCG’s Pastor E.A Adeboye over the loss of his son. Igboho believed these have compromised and betrayed Oodua.
“Anybody that will not support Oodua Nation, his wife and son will die,” Igboho said when they asked for his comment on Adeboye’s bereavement.
Igboho has also discredited all the southwestern governors because they don’t believe in any Oodua republic. Nor do the federal lawmakers from the region. And these are people saddled with the constitutional responsibility to make such secessionist move in an independent nation. Any other push—beyond expression and protest—is against the state. No government will watch a populist make such move sitting down. A clash is inevitable. And Igboho made many believe he was battle-hungry.
He once called on the Yoruba nation to get armed for self defence. He even took responsibility for the call to arms—though President Muhammadu Buhari has given a shoot-on-sight order against illegal bearers of arms.
“Tell them I gave you the order. I know where to buy guns. Let’s contribute and buy guns,” Igboho, speaking Yoruba, boasted in the video on social media.
What further emboldened him is his confidence in his juju. He had gone to rally many times kitted up in his juju-laden jacket, gourds, and horns, sticking up underneath. He also reveled in the legend his followers spun and spread around: How he could shape-shift, pluck a gun out of thin air, and face down marauding AK47-hugging Fulani terrorists bare-handed in the Ibarapa jungles. “If the federal government sent 1000 policemen to my house, only 100 of them will return alive,” he once boasted.
But the June 30 invasion of his Soka house in Ibadan by the DSS left two of his men dead, and 12 arrested. Igboho himself took off, and left his German visas, charms—and nine AK-47 rifles the DSS claimed it retrieved from his home.
The government has since nailed him down to stockpiling weapons—not organizing secessionist rallies.
The DSS asked him to turn himself in otherwise he is a fugitive, a candidate for Interpol manhunt. But Igboho kept churning out press releases from his hiding. Nothing less is expected of a man whose mouth rules his head. Even when in danger in Cotonou, he couldn’t stop yapping.
“You know that he has been under watch and he is a suspect who talks too much. These telephone clues were used to trail him and he was intercepted in Cotonou,” his lawyer told the BBC.
Apparently, the only plan he had—whether ready or knee-jerk—was to leave Nigeria through Benin Republic—for Germany where his family lives. It turned out a terrible gamble. Not well-thought out. He didn’t even consider fleeing to a German embassy in Nigeria or Benin Republic. Why not, since he has a German wife and German permanent residency, as his lawyers contend? With all that possibility, Igboho still had to forge a Beninese passport—an offence he will have to explain even if he claims he’s a political fugitive in Benin, the ground his lawyers are holding.
What makes the Beninese route slipperier is that Nigeria’s immediate past chief of army staff, Gen Tukur Buratai (retired) is there—as Nigeria’s ambassador. Buratai, according to reports, has effortlessly coordinated the setting of the trap. The arrest was thus a cinch.
Igboho’s lawyers have been giving different genres—mystery, thriller, coming-of-age, epic—of the arrest story since the news broke. One said he willingly surrendered himself. Another claimed he weaseled his way through the security mace with his fake passport, but was tricked back into the net.
But what is generally confirmed so far is Igboho and his German wife’s arrest and detention. And something unbecoming of a bonafide Oodua warrior: tearing up.
“I called him, and he was weeping like a baby as he talked,” said his counsel Yomi Aliyu. “They handcuffed him, and hit his hands in detention.”
The counsel further explained legal fireworks has been on to stop his extradition—on the grounds he is a political fugitive, and Nigeria’s 1984 treaty with Benin makes such person unreturnable.
But the treaty allows an extradition order to go through based on the request of the other state. Whatever the request holds matters a lot during court hearing. And it’s very unlikely Nigeria will make its on secession or difference in political ideology. Plus, the forgery Igboho committed that made the Beninese immigration flag him complicates the matter. Instead of keeping him in prison for that offence, Benin will happily ship Igboho back to Nigeria.
In international relations, extradition doesn’t happen on the force of international laws alone. There’s the principle of reciprocity (scratch my back and I scratch yours); there is mutual legal assistance, too. So Nigeria has a bouquet of choices.
The DSS has been silent on the Igboho arrest and extradition efforts. That the news broke out in the media probably gummed up the whole thing. Unlike the most recent similar case. A former bail-jumper and IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu’s extradition from Kenya, based on allegations, was easier—because it was noiseless. Either way, Igboho’s case will be done and dusted in at least 15 days provided for by the extradition law.
Critics of Buhari say cooping up the two secessionist arrowheads won’t stop secessionist agitation.
It’s a grind show.
And Nigerians can’t wait to see the next breakaway republic champion on the block.