Chief Sunday Adeyemo, the Yoruba Nation agitator, who is popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has spoken about his travails.
He speaks about the July 1, 2021 midnight invasion of his Ibadan home by operatives of the Department of State Services and the future of the Yoruba Nation struggle in an email interview with BOLA BAMIGBOLA
Did you expect that President Muhammadu Buhari would send security forces after you when you started the struggle for Yoruba Nation?
I was not expecting the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari to send security agents after me because our struggle for the actualisation of the Yoruba nation was constitutional, peaceful and legitimate. We were very civil with our activities, hence we never expected a responsible government to see our agitation as harmful to the peace of the country. Yoruba as an ethnic group among the ethnic nationalities in the country is an integral part of Nigeria. So for the past government of Buhari to come after my life and invade my residence in Ibadan with the security agents, killing my aide, and injuring several others was the highest level of illegality and executive recklessness. The whole building was riddled with bullets from the joint team of DSS and Nigeria Army personnel. My cars, most of which were brand new were also vandalised all because we were craving for the Yoruba nation.
How come you didn’t get intelligence information before that July 1, 2021 raid given your influence?
I don’t have any influence. I’m a businessman and where do I get influence when I am not a politician or a public office holder, who may have influence or tentacles in the corridor of power? So, I couldn’t have gotten any intel before the deadly attack on my home and my people on July 1, 2021. I don’t understand what you mean by spiritual power because I am not a prophet or an herbalist.
What exactly happened that night?
I believe I have said this in my previous interviews with the media. There is no need to repeat what has been published by the newspapers. There was a time when some journalists came to look for me in my house in Cotonou, the capital of the Benin Republic and I could recall that The PUNCH reporter was there and I narrated what happened.
Was it true that DSS brought three herbalists along for that raid?
I wouldn’t know that because the DSS stormed my residence at midnight causing fear and commotion in the whole of Soka area of Ibadan, releasing a volley of bullets for several hours. In that atmosphere of confusion and violence, how do you expect me to be checking if they came with herbalists or pastors? There couldn’t have been time for that.
One of your men said the DSS killed some cats and even arrested one, thinking you transformed into a cat. Did that happen really?
It is true that some cats were killed during the attack? Because the DSS just kept firing bullets in all directions. I was rearing cats as pets and I had many of them in my house. So, anything or movement attracted sporadic gunshots. Their mission was to either kill me or arrest me and take me to an unknown destination, but the Almighty God is greater than anybody in this world, including the despotic ex-President Muhammadu Buhari. My God and providence put Buhari to shame with the lawless invasion of my home because they all failed to achieve what they came for. I didn’t turn into a cat to escape.
The DSS said you stockpiled guns in your house. Did you?
That’s very far from the truth. How can I stockpile guns in my house? All those allegations are phantom and cooked up by the DSS just to implicate me for a planned or trumped-up criminal trial.
How did you feel about your arrest at Benin Republic?
There was no issue about the incident leading to my arrest in Cotonou. Myself and my wife were at the airport to board a flight outside the Republic of Benin. I had earlier been checked into the departure (lounge) before the turn of my wife when the incident happened. I had to come back to her because I could not leave her behind.
What were some of your unforgettable experiences while in Benin prison?
I was not imprisoned or jailed in Cotonou. I was only arrested and detained before my arraignment in court. After about two appearances in court, I was granted bail by the court following the intervention of some prominent Nigerians including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Banji Akintoye and others too numerous to mention. After my bail, I was allowed to return to my residence in Cotonou. After the fulfilment of all conditions attached to my bail, I was granted permission to leave Cotonou for anywhere or country. I was not convicted or jailed in the Republic of Benin.
What is happening to your car business in Nigeria?
My car business is intact and flourishing. I’m a businessman and I have been selling all types of vehicles for decades not only in Nigeria but also in a few other African countries.
What has been your experience in Germany?
To God be the glory. I have my family here in Germany and they have been living in Germany before the agitation for the Yoruba nation began. I also reside here and in other countries in Europe. So the issue of experience doesn’t come up because I have been here before.
When are you returning to Nigeria?
Very soon. When I return you will know definitely. It’s not going to be a secret affair. Nigerians will know whenever I am back.
Some people have criticised your approach and strategy for the agitation for the Yoruba Nation. They said you are not qualified to lead the agitation and that the struggle should be led by the Yoruba elite and elders. How do you respond to this?
Nobody is exclusively vested with the power in this struggle. Though I may be the prominent face of the struggle, we have our leaders like Professor Banji Akintoye and others. My critics cannot determine or spell out the requirements for leading a struggle like this. We are all working towards the collective goal of actualising the Yoruba nation peacefully and legitimately.
Now that Nigeria has a Yoruba president, have you dropped the agitation for Yoruba Nation?
We haven’t dropped the agitation for the Yoruba nation despite the emergence of President Bola Tinubu. We have been on this agitation long even before Tinubu clinched the presidential ticket of his political party, the All Progressives Congress. Our agitation is not predicated on the election of a Yoruba man as the president of the country. Tinubu is a Yoruba man and his becoming the President can’t stop us from the struggle for the realisation of the Yoruba nation. We, in the Ilana Omo Oodua movement, have made this clarification several times in the media space. You may think that you haven’t heard from us or seen much of us recently, we are still on the project and the United Nations (UN) is aware of our activities we have submitted correspondences and letters keeping the world body abreast of our progression in the struggle for Yoruba.
Source: The PUNCH