Ibarapa land returned to the national limelight again in the last three weeks for another unenviable reason. This is the visit of Chief Sunday Adeyemo (AKA Sunday Igboho) to emancipate the people from the heartlessness and oppressive domination of Alhaji Abubakar Saliu, the Seriki of Fulani of Igangan and his Fulani hegemony. Taking laws into one’s hand and trespassing into areas exclusively in the jurisdiction of a government is totally unacceptable in a democratic and civilized setting. But a situation where the three tiers of government have failed in their primary roles of securing lives and properties of the citizens, powerful and mighty people are bound to take laws into their hands to protect themselves , their loved ones and kinsmen . Everyone has primary responsibility of protecting himself.
The only reason for government to exist as postulated by the great social thinker, John Locke (1689) is for people to surrender their rights (including their security) to a central government that will provide social order and security for all. This is the foundation of the principle of social contract postulated by him in 1651. In the last few years, life in Ibarapa has been in a state of social anomie as postulated by Emile Durkheim (1897). A social anomie is a state governed by the powerful and mighty as represented by Alhaji Abubakar Saliu. In a state of social anomie, Thomas Hobbes postulated that “life of a man will be solitary, nasty, brutish and short”.
This is probably what our national leaders like former President Obasanjo, General T.Y Danjuma, Prof Wole Soyinka, Govr Rotimi Akeredolu and other notable Nigerians have been talking about when they speak about national insecurity in the last two years. Unless the government yield to calls by the populace and the nationalists by injecting new bloods among the service chiefs, our lives may continue to be in danger and violent uprisings may continue to erupt.
In my more than 30 years in politics and political campaign in Ibarapa, I have never seen the large crowd mobilized to Ibarapa by Sunday Igboho’s address. The mobilized people demonstrated voluntary resolution of the people to fight for their rights and reclaim the land from the oppressors. In the last 20 years or so, Alh. Abubakar Saliu has been “above the law”. His reign of terror has made the life of many “to be solitary, nasty, brutish and short” While he held the throne as the “Mayor of the Manor”, successive governments look the other way while the law enforcement and in fact the laws were in his pocket. All these have made the people to lose confidence in the readiness and ability of the government to protect them. Yet life is one, valuable and irreplaceable.
In all sincerity, Chief Sunday Adeyemo would not have had any reason to visit Ibarapaland if governments have been up and doing in their responsibilities and social contract with the people. Alh Saliu has constituted himself to an institution above the law while the governments that are supposed to be custodian of our laws and enforcers of laws allowed his tyranny to survive. He became untouchable and above the law. He became an abnormal oppressive being.
Since an abnormal problem deserve abnormal solution, then the lawlessness of Sunday Igboho is the solution to the abnormal problem. What happened in Igangan is a fight for freedom just like the ENDSARS. People are bound to revolt when the government refused to listen to them through the appropriate channel. The Ibarapa uprising is not against the Fulani dynasty as a tribe but the “bad eggs” among them as represented by the leader of the bad eggs. As a matter of fact, 90% of Fulanis in Ibarapaland are against the criminal, arrogant and domineering way of Alh Saliu’s way of life.
During my tenure as Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Ibarapa Central Local Government, I can recollect that the issue of this Seriki Abubakar Saliu and one Alhaji Jodi were major issues for discussion at every Peace and Security Council meetings apart from the then boiling religious crisis. While Alhaji Jodi (now of blessed memory) was then reported to be planning to poison Wara (cheese) to be sold at our local markets in order to kill our people in large number, this Saliu (who was not even from my local government) was behind every illegal grazing case, Fulani robbery attacks, rapes and other crisis in Ibarapa Central and North Local Governments. He was always trespassing to my local government and violated the rights of other Serikis in Ibarapaland. Within my six months in office, I had more than 5 collusion with him and on each of the occasions; he was supported by the law enforcers in cases that are glaringly violent, oppressive and criminal towards our people.
This criminality was so serious that the local government had to constitute an inter-ethnic and security committee which was headed by Kabiyesi Onidere of Idere, Oba Kingsley Onikola, representatives of each of the security agencies (Police, SSS, NSCDC, Immigration etc) and leaders of all ethnic tribes in the local government in January 2012 to handle his matters and related issues. In almost all the meetings, all other Seriki of Fulanis, Hausas and other tribes were embittered with Alh. Saliu. An Indication that they were not in support of his being the godfather of criminals. They were however powerless because of his unholy relationship with law enforcement and enormous wealth to back up and cover up his illegal actions.
There are more than five Serikis in Ibarapa Central. I can authoritatively say that they are pleasant and good people to live with, some are good tenants on our lands. I can remember giving rams to some of these Serikis during Sallah and even clearing lands for the Hausa’s sabo market along Igboora / Abeokuta road during my brief tenure. We should avoid throwing away the child with the bath-water.
The question now is how do we identify the good and the bad ones and do we reorganize ourselves with them?
Mr Akinyemi Akinlabi
Former Chairman, Ibarapa Central Local Government