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SUNDAY IGBOHO: Incarcerated In The 37th State Of Nigeria - Politics - Nairaland

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SUNDAY IGBOHO: Incarcerated In The 37th State Of Nigeria by pundit96(m): 6:03pm On Jul 28, 2021
As recent as the last official visit of the Beninese government to its Nigeria counterpart at the Aso Villa in February 2021 a tune for new alliance and dynamic relationship to accelerate even development between the cooperating states of Nigeria and Benin Republic was reset. As this states-action was real and backed with vigour, the local media report of the agreement as “making Benin Republic the 37th state of Nigeria”. Immediately after such headline were questions, fears and frenzies which is usual in the Nigerian media space. Questions like “why will Benin join a country whose destiny is bleak?” and “To what end is the joining of Benin in the political circle of Nigeria?” had to make the Foreign Affairs Minister re-issued a terse statement to allay those fears and frenzies. The statement says: “The President of Benin said as far as they are concerned, they would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th state of Nigeria”. To describe in Jack Robinson the country called Benin Republic within the purview of geography and history in order to relate the matter in the discourse of diplomatic history and state relations is not to bore the topic rather to make it all encompassing. Benin Republic formerly Dahomey, is a small country in West Africa with a thin population of about 12 million people and shares borders with countries like Togo, Niger, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) and Nigeria. Considering its size to Nigeria, its Eastern neighbour it is understandable of the reportage that Benin wants to become Nigeria’s 37th state. Estimated population of Lagos a state in Nigeria doubles that of Benin Republic while that of Oyo equals it. The major ethnic group in the country are the Fon, Aja and Yoruba who over the years have experienced ethnic clashes. Within the labyrinth of history, Dahomey or now Benin Republic when it changed name in 1991 has always been a famous for its role as slave’s port during the Atlantic slave trade that lasted for centuries. Close relations of Benin to her neighbours was strategic and the Yoruba areas of Nigeria being one of the most important of them. The advent of European colonialism however altered that closeness and gave new identities to the colonized lands. It is interesting to say that ‘Benin’ the country’s now official name after a new constitution was adopted in recognition of the people’s cultural affinity and ancestral roots traced to the Yoruba people living in Nigeria. In Nigeria there is also a city also called ‘Benin’ a capital of Edo state which also traces its origin to the Yoruba ancestral home of Ile-Ife. Although a century of European rule altered that borders and separated people who were shared the same identity and language but the affinity was still maintained through cultural institutions and seasonal trade of fruits and other local trades to Ajashe (Porto Nouvo) capital of Benin Republic as if it’s a trade to another state in South Western region of Nigeria. As noted by Prof. Toyin Falola et al., the area that is largely today Benin Republic was a vassal to the great Oyo Empire until the reign of Gezo of Dahomey a military genius clashed with the wane in influence of the Oyo Empire and ultimately led to the political break-away of Dahomey. The religious and cultural affinities like language and customs of the Yorubas is still conspicuous in Benin republic which is why some argue that the Republic of Benin is another Yoruba state married in another political marriage with other ethnic groups in Benin republic but officiated by the French Europeans unlike the case of their sisters (Yorubas) in Nigeria whose marriage with other ethnic groups was officiated by the British.
Tossing away from the background to the subject which is the incarceration of Sunday Igboho in Benin Republic and as emotive as it seems with international observation far and wide like that of General Dreyfus in the French Third Republic I will strive at being objective.
In Africa today or since independence a similar pattern to rise in the region’s political leadership and affluence have largely been through political struggle. Struggle against what if I may ask? Is it perceived Injustice and quest for state resources in order to take their ‘people’ out of hardship? With the way the African political system is structured can there ever be justice and equality? Today’s struggles reflected the pattern used in colonial and apartheid years that produced the Mandelas, Machels, Boignys, Awolowos, and Ziks yet they have been more unjust and lack compassion like that of the European masters. It is appropriate to say the struggle continues is the African story many years after independence.
The perceived injustice and political happenings in Nigeria has re-birthed new kinds of strugglers in Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Chief Sunday Igboho who, going by the aim of their struggle is to liberate their ‘people’ from a system that is not working or favouring their people. We are all victims of the Nigerian system. A system schemed out by a white-man and aided by the unwarranted incursion of the men-in-khaki into the political circles of the country. The Nigerian system has been rigid and continues to be too conservative for change even in the face of time. It is interesting to know that only political change the country has experienced since its independence was through decrees and edicts where the General say jump and we can only ask how high should we?. Contrary to other commentaries, the military years drew us back in terms of political development and discussions which should have been heard in order to shape our destiny as a country and also to strengthen the democratic institutions. Political conversations of today are stale in my opinion but it’s rather late than never. Isn’t it crazy for open grazing to be a discussion in Nigeria of today? Today’s world sees top countries converse on STEMs in relation to their national development while our national howling still borders on routes and passages for cows. As they say, it is what it is. Back to Sunday Igboho one of the leading agitators of a new movement called Yoruba nation whose recent travail birthed this comment has an agenda to seek a quick secession of the Yoruba people out of a tiring and seemingly unfruitful marriage with other ethnic groups in the country called Nigeria. Their modus operandi has largely been through rallies and media statements. Prior to these movements, Sunday Igboho have had open confrontations with some ethnic group perceived as ‘enemies’ and who’s occupation have been perceived to be the cause of constant loss of lives, kidnappings and troubles to the local people and later issued them a quit notice in the Ibarapa axis. But who is this Landlord to issue such? Based on prints and media information even though inaccurate all seems to point that Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Sunday Igboho used to be politicians ‘good-boy’ and a mass-mobilizer in Yorubaland and in a video he said of his political machinations in South Western states of Oyo and Osun and that his school of political thought is affiliated to that of the prominent Oyo politician Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. Going by this, Sunday Igboho possesses the crowd and political god-fathers who are under curtain to back his recent actions for secession. These actions have implications in a republic guided by laws which include jail and at very harsh sanction ‘death’. As an observer, I want to understand that lack of modern-day political intelligence, diplomacy and overzealousness coupled with fickle support swayed him into the continuation of his Generalissimo show in a 21st century world thinking the presumed war is that Kiriji wars or the Mugba Mugba that pitted Northern jihadists with the Yorubas war lords.
Today’s Nigeria may be run like that of a 17th and 18th centuries but the state resources and military arsenal are up-to-date which if used, causes carnage that cannot be stopped by the greatest of kinjikitile or the strongest of African bulletproof. The Nigerian government’s Cheka or secret police (DSS) have been used to silent, intimidate, and persecute people opposed to the administration and has made it seem our democracy is militarised in nature. In the face of this struggle Igboho also witnessed a July visitor who stormed his residence in the dark following a report of illegal possession of arms by the Chief. Gun-fights ensued, arrests were made passports was seized and casualties reported but Igboho’s disappearance. It was upon this that a man-hunt was issued by the DSS on Sunday Igboho who has become a fugitive and on the run.
Fortnight after the raid on his residence and being on the run Igboho was finally apprehended in Benin Republic by its intelligence and migration police on issues bothering illegal entry and intelligence report issued by the Nigerian government to neighbouring countries that if found he should be extradited back to the country to answer charges levelled against him. This arrest has seen outcry, variegated opinions on international law, human rights and states relations with this writing being one. His arrest has also seen committee being set-up by Yoruba Obas to seek the release of Igboho in their sister state of Benin republic after all Benin is still culturally affiliated to the Yoruba people of Nigeria going by history but then again it is only four months that the Beninese president visited Aso Villa and sought strong ties and cooperation which will perceive the country as the 37th state of Nigeria. If Benin republic fails to assist the Nigeria government to extradite the person of Igboho by listening to the plea of the Yoruba Obas won’t that be a breach to the cooperation it seek? Considering this is the very first test to live to the responsibilities of the desired arrangement. But if it successfully extradites Igboho back to DSS office in Abuja won’t this erode the Benin age-long affinity and cultural relations with the Yorubas? It may seem a betrayal to the Yoruba race that their sister town was complicit in the extradition and apprehension of their son. Whatever the outcome of this seeming long battle to extradition may be, the ball is largely in the court of Benin republic and also the destiny of Sunday Igboho. We will keep a close eye on the events as they unfold.


Re: SUNDAY IGBOHO: Incarcerated In The 37th State Of Nigeria by pundit96(m): 6:07pm On Jul 28, 2021
Lalasticlala please push to front page
Re: SUNDAY IGBOHO: Incarcerated In The 37th State Of Nigeria by psucc(m): 6:09pm On Jul 28, 2021
Don't forget a new military administrator/governor has just been posted.

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