From Osun to Oyo states and some other places in the South West, the name, Sunday Igboho, rings a bell. Either as a result of several tales and myths about the 45-year-old man who reportedly commands guns into appearance and is feared for what many see as a lifestyle of brigandage or an encounter with him in real life or through a recent eponymous Yoruba home video, a meeting with Chief Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday Igboho, is certain to arouse curiosity. In this interview with TRIBUNE, he speaks on his life, how he came about his name and metaphysical prowess and his decision to contest the governorship seat in Oyo State in 2019.
Whenever and wherever Sunday Igboho is mentioned, what comes to the minds of most people is a picture of brigandage and violence, but you have often maintained that you are a man of peace. Who is Sunday Igboho?
People don’t know a lot of things about me. The thing I detest the most is oppression: whenever I see that anyone is being oppressed or cheated for being on his right, I defend such people. I say it all the time that anyone who can point out that Sunday Igboho killed someone should come out with the facts. Even at the height of the heated politics between the late Chief LamidiAdedibu and former Governor Rashidi Ladoja in Oyo State, I didn’t kill anyone. The only thing I did was to protect Ladoja and shield him from harm whenever he was to be attacked. As hot as the venue of the Akure, Ondo State primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in 2006, I ensured the safety of the former governor. People made moves to buy me over in order to harm Ladoja but I refused. I am a loyal person; I do not betray anyone I am with. Go and ask about me. And let me tell you that it was the Adedibu-Ladoja face-off that made people to shout my name as if they know me. I am a man of peace.
But there was Ife-Modakeke crisis where you were said to have played unforgettable roles in the crisis…
That was a different thing entirely. That was where people got to know me. And I do not believe that should be counted against me at all. If anyone says because I said I have not killed before and they refer to Ife-Modakeke crisis, it will be unfair because that was a war. A person that wanted to kill me and razed my property is bent on killing me, so if one killed while defending himself, I don’t think it is a crime. May God forgive us, but it will be unfair for anyone to judge me based on a story they do not know the full details. I lived in Modakeke and the Ile-Ife people said they wanted to send Modakeke people packing from their lands. That was where these people have lived all their lives. How can you suddenly rise to send them away? That was where my father lived and built a house; that was where I lived. So, I had to rise in defence of my home. Our house was burnt down during that crisis. I had been in Modakeke since 1985; that was where I learnt a vocation, got married and gave birth to children. So, should I have folded my arms while my father’s house was burnt and lose everything? People just shout Sunday Igboho, Sunday Igboho — Who can say he saw me in a public fight? Who can say he has seen me cheat or oppress people? If you hit my car, I tell you to go because if I did anything untoward, people would say I was oppressing such person because of my personality.
Before the Ife-Modakeke crisis, have you been defending the oppressed?
It was when the crisis occurred and I saw that Modakeke was about to be oppressed that I took up the task. I decided then that if God could give me success in fighting against the oppression of Modakeke, there was nowhere someone would be cheated around me and I won’t rise in the person’s defence. Modakeke people didn’t just get to that place; they didn’t get their 100 years earlier and you just told them to leave your land. The land belongs to God and you would recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in ending the dispute, said that Ile-Ife is the source of all Yoruba and that all Yoruba people could decide to return to live in Ile-Ife.
But there are the tales about land-grabbing and Omo Onile kind of violence linked to you
I don’t sell lands. I don’t collect what does not belong to me. It is when people have lost their lands to land-grabbers that they run to me to report and I help them to reclaim their lands. I would call those boys to order and ensure the land goes back to the rightful owner.
You were honoured at a point as Akoni Oodua, a position that is despite being honourary, connotes warfare and violence and people in that category often have a lot of disciples. You have described yourself as a man of peace, but people talk of the atrocious things that the boys who follow you do. What do you have to say?
Those who follow me are like my younger brothers and none of them can do anything unlawful. But the problem is most thugs and misguided youths cause trouble in my name. They do bad things and claim to be Sunday Igboho’s boys. I have never seen these people before; whenever they were arrested by the police and they are asked whether they could identify me, they then confess that they had never seen me before. I am a lawful person; I don’t go to where is violence. Even when someone reports land-grabbers, I will tell people to go and call them and I will warn them to release the lands to their rightful owners. I have actually told the police anybody that calls himself my boy and oppresses another person is not close to me; that such a person should be arrested and the appropriate justice should be served. I say it everywhere.
There are many myths about Sunday Igboho, but the most popular is that you have so much metaphysical powers that you can command a gun to appear from nowhere. Don’t you think this can scare people away from you?
Anyone that is scared is not a true Yoruba. We are all Yoruba.
Is it true that Sunday Igboho can command a gun from thin air?
It is a divine secret from God; I inherited the powers from my fathers.
How come you are now called Sunday, which signifies Christianity?
I am a Christian; an original one. I was christened by the church in Igboho when I was born. At least, that was what I was told, because I was not there. And while growing up, I met my father going to church. But he was a herbalist and one can inherit the powers. Does it disturb my going to church? I can use the powers to defend myself; inasmuch as I do not perpetrate wickedness with it. I can wear amulets to church; will the pastor know? It will be under my cloth. God didn’t say we should not defend ourselves. Tell me any prophet in the Bible who did not defend himself. It was only Jesus Christ that was patient and meek to the point of replacing a severed ear of an enemy. Moses was a warrior; he was an actor. I am an actor too. Joshua was a warrior; Samson fought battles; David did too. The Israelites fought wars; they defended themselves. So, when an enemy wants to bring a fight, I can defend myself using tradition powers and God will not be vexed. He created the herbs and roots; He said everything is perfect and made human beings rulers over them all. So, if God made me a ruler over something, why shouldn’t I control it? If I cannot do that, it means I do not know what God has sent me to do. But of course, it is not everyone that knows what God sent him to do. The Bible also confirms this when it said many are called, few are chosen.
CULLED FROM TRIBUNE